August 22, 2015 / 6:03 PM / 4 years ago

Vettel rues costly mistake in Spa qualifying

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel rued a costly mistake as Ferrari’s hopes of making their 900th race one to remember suffered a setback at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Ferrari Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany adjusts his helmet during a free practice session ahead of the weekend's Belgian F1 Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, August 21, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Sebastian Vettel qualified ninth for what will be his 150th race start, but will start one place higher up the grid thanks to Romain Grosjean being penalized, while Kimi Raikkonen was only 14th after his car broke down.

Although Raikkonen could not be blamed for that misfortune, Vettel held up his hand for his own poor performance after winning the previous race in Hungary at the end of July.

“The last race doesn’t matter now, but it’s always disappointing when you consider I had a good feeling throughout,” said the four-times world champion, who has won twice this year.

“I was fine until the last corner where I lost too much time. I went in a bit too deep, had a very poor exit and lost quite a lot of time, two tenths.

“It was a costly mistake and I’m not happy with myself,” added the German.

Despite the setback, Vettel said Ferrari had the speed to make up ground in the race even if Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have been dominant all weekend at the longest circuit on the calendar.

“Our straightline speed is good and that makes me fairly confident for the race as this is a place where you can overtake,” he said.

“I feel we’re quicker than the cars in front, so we’ll see how it pans out.”

Sunday could also bring more varied conditions after three days of steady sunshine, with the possibility of rain in the afternoon.

Raikkonen said his car had been handling well before the problem.

“My starting position will make my race very tricky but I hope that the race condition will turn in our favor,” said the Finn.

“Even if it won’t be easy to get past Mercedes-engined cars, we’ll keep fighting and doing our best.”

Editing by Ed Osmond

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