The German went off at Turn 2 in the dying minutes of the rain-hit afternoon session, triggering a final yellow flag in what was an incident-packed opening day at the Red Bull Ring. Talking about the mishap afterwards, Vettel explained there is no cause for concern.
“We had an issue with the brake distribution,” the four-time world champion said. “It caught me by surprise, but it didn’t matter too much and fortunately nothing happened. I lost a couple of minutes, so it didn’t make a big difference.”
Vettel placed third and fourth respectively in FP1 and FP1, but trailed pace setter Nico Rosberg by over half a second in both sessions.
Ferrari spent another engine development token ahead of the Spielberg event in its bid to further close the gap to Mercedes and taste victory for the first time in 2016.
Asked whether he felt he can challenge for victory in Austria, Vettel replied: “Always. I think every race is an opportunity. It was a decent day, but I’m not entirely clear where we are because we didn’t get much running, in the afternoon in particular, but overall it should be okay.”