Sebastian Vettel says Valenica win is no sure thing
All signs may point to a Sebastian Vettel victory at today’s European Grand Prix, but try telling that to the Red Bull racer.
Vettel returned to his championship-winning best at the Valencia Street Circuit to blitz the field and clinch pole with a time of one minute 38.086secs, 0.324 secs ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton with Pastor Maldonado of Williams completing the top three.
Team principal Christian Horner described the German’s display as his “best lap this year”, while the double world champion has won this race from pole for the last two seasons.
Indeed, it would seem all the 24-year-old has to do is turn the keys in the ignition to secure the three-peat. However, with this year’s campaign proving to be anything but straight forward, a wary Vettel refused to talk up his chances.
“It’s easier to predict the results of the (Euro 2012) football matches tonight,” quipped Vettel, whose 33rd career pole saw him climb to third equal on the all-time list.
“It’s going to be hot [today], hotter than [yesterday], so whilst grid position is important this year, maybe not as important.”
Overall leader Hamilton, winner in Canada two weeks ago, considered himself lucky to be so high up on the grid after an indifferent display.
“I expected to be further back,” he said. “We had to make some adjustments and it seemed to work. I am surprised.”
Team-mate Jenson Button will start from ninth while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso had a day to forget and will line up in 11th place. However, the biggest loser in qualifying was Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber, who failed to make it out of Q1 for the first time since last year’s Chinese GP and will start 19th.