Vettel admits that Leclerc 'did a better job today'

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF90. 31.08.2019.
© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second place in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, after being unable to match the pace of his young Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc.

Vettel was among a number of drivers who got caught up in on-track congestion while jostling for a slipstream boost from the cars ahead.

"In the end, it is good that we secured the first row but to fight for pole I think I was sort of in the queue which didn't help," he said after the end of qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps.

"Being further back I think wasn't ideal, but anyways obviously Charles did a better job today," he admitted. "No excuses."

Even before the battle for a slipstream in Q3, Leclerc had topped all three rounds of qualifying on Saturday. He ended up with a massive 0.748s second margin over Vettel, who successfully pipped Lewis Hamilton to a front row spot to put him into a strong position to battle for the win.

"We will look forward to the race tomorrow," Vettel said. "I think we have good pace in the car so hopefully we'll be able to show it over 44 laps.

"I felt the car was quite good which is the most important thing," adding that cooler conditions could also play a part in tomorrow's outcome.

"Let's see tomorrow with the change in ambient track conditions what the race is going to be like," he said.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto agreed that a forecast drop in temperature overnight could have an effect on Ferrari's prospects on Sunday, with cooler conditions tending to help their Mercedes rivals in the past.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 with Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari in qualifying parc ferme.

"In the race tomorrow then yes maybe the temperature may be important," he told Sky Sports F1 "We saw in Hungary that we suffer in the heat and I know that tomorrow the weather forecast is for a more cooler day.

"I don't think the hot weather is helping Ferrari," he insisted. "In the single lap, I don't think really the external temperature has much of an effect. It's more how you prepare the tyres on the out lap.

"Quite honestly, [I would be] happy with a cooler day tomorrow," he insisted.

"We know that tomorrow will be another day. But at least today, I think: good qualie, good pace, good speed.

"I'm very happy, certainly for Charles. For Seb as well - he had some traffic, probably not the best lap. He showed in Q2 he could have been very close to Charles, but overall 1-2 is what we're looking for.

"I think Seb has got great race pace, and his strength is the race pace. Starting from second position, the race is fully open.

"He needs to focus on his strengths, and tomorrow I think he may have a great chance as well.

"Happy for today, no doubt, so at least let's enjoy today, we know that tomorrow will be another day," Binotto added. "We should enjoy for today and at least seize the evening and have a good dinner!

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