While Webber was unable to make it into the final qualifying shoot-out Vettel was able to salvage a third row starting spot. The reigning champion admitted afterwards that the team has “not been quick enough” so far at Monza but setting the sixth fastest time at least least puts him into a position to challenge for a podium tomorrow.
Paul di Resta’s gearbox penalty will mean that Vettel will start fifth and even though the Red Bull is clearly short of pace the team has shown their strategic acumen throughout the season. Vettel is quietly confident following his qualifying effort:
“I’m pretty happy with the result; my last lap should have been a bit quicker,” said the double champion. “If you look from us to the front, the gaps are too big. All weekend we were not quick enough, so P6 is a very good place to be. Let’s see what we can do in the race, I think the pace tomorrow should be better.”
It will be a difficult race for Vettel but with Fernando Alonso starting tenth there is at least the potential to claw back some of the Spaniard’s championship lead.
On the other side of the Red Bull garage however Mark Webber was more resigned to his fate. Having qualified 11th the Australian was somewhat downbeat:
“It’s pretty much what we expected today,” said Webber. “Seb and I were on the bubble there; it was very close between us – there’s only a tenth here and there and I’m out. No massive surprises. I’m eleventh, so we can have a bit of a choice on what we can do tonight, but I’d rather be further up the grid. We’ve got a bit of a slog tomorrow; but it’s Monza so never say never.”
The race will likely see the majority of the field make a single pitstop so the uphill task facing Webber is quite clear.