Vettel surprised by Aston Martin double flop in qualifying


Sebastian Vettel says he was surprised by his Q1 exit in Barcelona as he had expected his final lap in the first segment of qualifying to place him close to P10 in the initial pecking order.

Vettel's Aston Martin team generated the headlines ahead of this weekend's round of racing in Spain, thanks to the controversy surrounding the latest upgrades implemented on its AMR22.

The changes, and especially the car's sidepods and engine cover, drew the attention of the FIA which considered the designs to be very similar to those featured on Red Bull's RB18.

But the governing body clear Aston of any suspicions of illicit replication, although Red Bull has initiated its own investigation into the matter.

For all the noise surrounding Aston's upgrade package, the modifications have done little so far to boost the pace of the team's 2022 car which left Vettel and teammate Lance Stroll respectively P16 and P18 in qualifying.

The German driver was baffled by the underperformance, telling his race engineer over the radio "You're kidding" when he was told that his best flyer in Q1 was only good for 16th.

"The lap was good, and there was nothing wrong with it," he commented after the session.

"It was just very busy. I mean, I was obviously sideways a lot and so on. But yeah, I don't know, we need to have a look.

"I was surprised. I expected to be somewhere around P10. We're not, it's simple as that.

"It's a bit disappointing, because I thought today we could do better, but it wasn't the case."

Despite his disappointing performance, Vettel says Aston believes that the AMR22's new package will eventually prove beneficial.

"If you look at the table it’s not that different, but we knew that it’s not going to be a massive step in performance straight away," he said.

"It’s very early, it’s basically a new car that we ran yesterday. So it is different, I’m still figuring it out but I thought I had a good feeling.

"Today in quali, I was slowed down by the poor car balance in terms of struggling to get a feel for the rear or to trust in the rear of the car.

"It was moving too much and I just couldn’t carry the speeds that I did in practice or what I thought I needed to, or I wanted to in quali.

"We do believe in the concept and we’re confident that there’s more to come."

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