SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
Vettel says Monza will be difficult race
With Red Bull struggling for single lap pace relative to its championship opposition at Monza, the world champion expects a stronger race showing but thinks that a win is probably beyond Red Bull.
Vettel qualified sixth at Monza but will start fifth after a five place penalty for a gearbox change is applied to Paul Di Resta's excellent fourth on the grid.
"P6 was probably the maximum we could manage today," Vettel said. "My final qualifying attempt was a bit messy with traffic. We tried to get a bit of a tow but if didn't work that well.
"We are not quick enough on the straights but it's difficult to know what will happen. We need to wait and see how the others are. We should be alright but we are not expecting to win. The pace has not been there at any time this weekend."
Vettel suffered an alternator failure in final practice on Saturday morning, the same gremlin that robbed him when he was dominating the European GP at Valencia in June.
"It was a big surprise," he admitted. "After what happened earlier at Valencia we had a fix and were convinced that we would not run into any kind of problems again. At the moment it's not clear why it happened and so it's diffiuclt to react. But I'm reasonably confident with the mileage we've done using a spare, that it should be fine in the race."
Despite championship leader Fernando Alonso starting 10th after a mechanical problem in Q3, Vettel believes that Ferrari cannot be ruled out.
"They will be strong," he says. "Felipe (Massa) qualified third and Fernando was very competitive."
Potentially ominous for Vettel's race chance is his starting position one slot behind Michael Schumacher who, it may be remembered, drove a very wide Mercedes at Monza last year.
"Yeah," Vettel smiled, "I hope he will do the same again, once I've passed him..."