Sebastian Vettel has said that the timing of the yellow flags prevented him from making it out of Q1 during qualifying for the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Vettel’s start to life as a works Aston Martin F1 driver didn’t get off to the best of starts as he not only failed to make it out of the first qualifying session, but was also out-qualified by his less experienced teammate, Lance Stroll.
While Stroll went on to make it to Q3, ending up 10th on the grid, Vettel failed to make any impact and could only manage to go 18th fastest.
But although there were no mechanical issues with his car, Vettel said that the timing of the yellow flags, which were caused by Nikita Mazepin and Carlos Sainz, and his track position meant he was unable to complete his last flying lap.
“I think it is fair to say the result today is disappointing and not what we wanted.” commented Vettel after qualifying.
“My first lap in Q1 had quite a bit of margin for improvement, but on my second run there were two yellow flags, which made it impossible to progress to Q2.
“There was a yellow flag at turn one and one later in the lap too. I was just unlucky with my position on the track.”
But while he is disappointed with his qualifying result, the four-time world champion is pleased that he has noticed considerable improvements with the car over such a short period of time.
“On a positive note, the car felt better in qualifying and all the work we have done since testing is taking us in a good direction, so we have the potential to be faster.”
“Even though we are not starting where we want to be, it is tomorrow that counts.
“Our job is to maximise all the opportunities and see what happens.”
Vettel was summoned to the stewards immediately after qualifying for not respecting waved yellow flags, and was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.
However, on Sunday the FIA deemed that Vettel had fallen foul of the rules and was given a five place grid penalty as a result.