After Sebastian Vettel topped Q1 this morning, spirits of fans around the world began to rise with the slight thought of a Ferrari pole position in the Mexican Grand Prix. After the team was there or thereabouts in Q2, it was unfortunately the story of Q3 that was written without Ferrari in it.
It appeared as though the team struggled significantly with tire warm up throughout the last portion of qualifying which left them down in P6 and P7, 6 tenths off pole position. Immediately after the session, Sebastian Vettel reported to the interview suite to give his thoughts on the extremely disappointing session. This is where things get interesting, and Vettel gives a specific interview that best sums up the disastrous day at Ferrari.
After already giving countless interviews to other media outlets in the media pen, the German headed over to Sky Sport’s F1 reporter Rachel Brooks, who instantly asked Vettel, “tell us, what happened?”
There and then it was obvious Vettel was going to use humor to help harden the devastating qualifying. “What, you didn’t look?” he comically replied. When she failed to understand his joke, Vettel was simplistic in his answer as to the real problem, stating: “We’re just not quick enough.”
“We were struggling on the super-softs,” he continued to explain. “On the softs it was very good and we were quicker than on the super-softs which isn’t right.”
Then, Rachel Brooks was forced, like a any good interviewer would, to ask about one of the most contentious incidents in qualifying, where Vettel allegedly blocked Lewis Hamilton. “Just talk us through it from your point of view,” she asked Vettel. But it was clear Vettel’s humor was now gone – he refused to give a direct answer to the question, instead employing 4 years of media experience to reply: “that doesn’t matter because the thing that really matters today is the result, and we’re not happy with the result.”
“You’re not expecting any investigation?” Brooks asks as she continues to poke him for answers. “I had no idea he was coming so I was told too late, but yes, my mistake,” replies Vettel as if he was in the Principals office, simply admitting the blame to get out of there quicker.
But Brooks pushed to many buttons and the German sadly hits rock bottom: full blown pessimism. Vettel tells her, “I mean if they give me a penalty, then go ahead, nothing I can do now.” Abruptly and suddenly he leaves, storming off as she attempts to ask another question.
I thought this short and sharp interview best summed the day that Ferrari. It started off as a joke, got very serious, and then just turned to a pessimistic day of despair. But in all seriousness, this theme of bombing out in Q3 has become all too familiar. It’s been happening regularly since Spain.
Vettel is rightfully allowed to be angry, but it also shows what now appears to be a strained relationship between the team and their driver. With it looking likely 2017 could be Raikkonen’s last season, continued angry outbursts like this from Vettel could vacate two seats at the Scuderia for 2018.