Vettel came close to losing his pole lap

Sebastian Vettel said he almost missed his chance at the pole position in the final Q3 lap when he lost control of the car for a few moments.

Vettel knew well enough that he had to bring in something special to get the Pole position after Max Verstappen’s fantastic first run in Q3.

After the German successfully navigated through the first purple sector, he was on second-gear at a tricky Turn 6 right-hander and was forced to switch to first gear to recover.

Thankfully, Vettel lost very little time in recovery and could move ahead fast enough to get the pole position beating Verstappen by just 0.086 seconds.

Talking about Verstappen’s pace, Vettel said: “He was very quick in Q2, I don’t know where he pulled that from – we had to stretch all of us.

“It is difficult out here. The altitude has an effect on the asphalt and its ageing and it makes it slippery – and then he goes four tenths quicker than anybody else. So I thought how do I do that?

“I thought if I had a clean first sector it would be good, but then I had a moment in Turn 6. I nearly lost the car and had to go down to first gear, but I managed to get it through there without any time loss.

“Then I was able to push until the end. After the line, I knew it would be close, but I didn’t know what the others were doing. When I heard it was enough, it was like an explosion in the car. I had one yesterday with the extinguisher – but today was a real one!”

Vettel knows that even as he gets on his 50th pole, his main rival Lewis Hamilton needs to come just fifth in the race to win the world championship title. Knowing Hamilton as well as he does, it will be an easy job for the British speedster.

Thinking aloud on his feeling about winning the race but losing the title, Vettel said: “We don’t need to debate what is the bigger cup. We do our race and there is not much point in looking at what others are doing. The position we are in, we need to maximise our pace.”

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