Vettel 'chickened out' on final Q3 lap, left P2 on Brazilian GP grid

Sebastian Vettel says he “chickened out” under braking at Turn 1 during his final lap in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday after losing out to Mercedes Formula 1 rival Valtteri Bottas in the battle for pole position at Interlagos.

Vettel looked set to take a record-equalling third Interlagos pole after leading the opening runs in Q3, only for a mistake at Turn 1 to compromise his line and cause him to lose time running over the kerb.

After failing to improve on his final lap, Vettel left the door open for Bottas to snatch pole away for Mercedes, leaving the Ferrari racer to settle for second place on the grid ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

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“I was very happy with the first lap. I knew that in the last corner on that first attempt in Q3, I had a little bit left because I lost the rear a bit, so I wanted to get there about the same and then gain some time,” Vettel said.

“But yeah, I chickened out a little bit too early on the first corner braking, it was there. I lost some time compared to the first run. Then I managed to stay there and got what I thought a little bit back in the last corner, but it wasn’t enough to come back.

“It’s not ideal, but overall I think a very positive day for both of us, looking at the gaps from yesterday and today.”

Vettel said after practice on Friday he thought it would be tough to beat Mercedes, but professed confidence in Ferrari’s long-run pace after qualifying.

“Obviously Valtteri’s on pole. It will be difficult to beat him, but I’m confident we have the pace, especially in the long runs,” Vettel said.

“I think it’s more of a surprise today that we got that close. If it’s that close obviously you wish to be ahead, but tomorrow should be a good race.

“We’ll see what happens. Interlagos is always special, there’s always something that happens in the race. Let’s stay out of trouble and have a good race.””

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