Munich: Ferrari’s troubled home season in qualifying was illustrated by their worst showing in 24 years at the German Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Italian team, seeking a first home win in 20 years, failed to qualify in front of any of their main rivals for the second race in a row, with Red Bull taking pole position for the first time this season and for Australian Daniel Ricciardo.
“It was probably the most pathetic qualifying I can remember,” the Ferrari technical head, James Allison, told Sky Sports television.
“It’s certainly one of the worst qualifying performances by a team in a home race in quite a while.”
The Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who won in Azerbaijan from the provisional pole position last weekend, will start ninth on the grid, with Vettel, the five-times champion, third. It is Ferrari’s worst start to a race weekend since the 1984 German grand prix.
Drivers will follow their own strategy and are allowed to have a turbo boost for maximum boost at the start. Ferrari, trying to close the yawning gap to Mercedes, have chosen to use less at the start than the other drivers but appeared to run out of juice just before the end of the final sector.
In qualifying conditions, they were 0.237 seconds off Ricciardo’s Red Bull. “It’s not quite good enough, we are not racing in Germany, but we’ve got to take the positives,” said Vettel.
“We did not have the most fun in qualifying, but it’s the first week back in pole. We did as well as we could do and if we had had a little bit more margin this would have been a little bit different.”
Ricciardo completed a one-two for Red Bull with Dutch teenager Max Verstappen third. McLaren will start eighth after they failed to qualify for the top 10 shootout with Fernando Alonso, the 2006 champion, third from behind the safety car.
“A bit unfortunate there in the end but we can learn from it,” said Alonso. “We’ve got enough pace to get back in front of Red Bull next time. This weekend was a struggle.”