Formula 1 2020: Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel puzzled by car after underwhelming show in Spanish GP qualifying
Vettel said he could not find an answer to some of the problems he faced with his car despite taking a new chassis for this weekend's event.
Barcelona: A puzzled Sebastian Vettel admitted he was still struggling to understand his Ferrari car on Saturday after missing out on a place in the top-10 qualifying shootout for the Spanish Grand Prix by just 0.002 seconds.
The luckless four-time Formula One champion, who has had a dreadful start to the F1 season, was bumped down to 11th in the final seconds of Q2 at the Circuit de Catalunya when Pierre Gasly made a last-gasp jump into fifth place.
The 33-year-old German said he could not find an answer to some of the problems he faced with his car despite taking a new chassis for this weekend's event.
"The first sector was OK, but then in the middle sector the car started to feel more and more nervous," Vettel explained after finishing 11th and missing out on Q3 for the second consecutive week.
"It was one of the better sessions for me this weekend, but still obviously not good enough.
"There are some things I can't really put an answer to, but I'm trying to do everything I can and to ignore all the things that might not be right."
Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc qualified ninth and also complained about his car.
"I was just not happy with the car," he said. "It was OK this morning, but then it fell away – I just didn't have enough front end to rotate the car.
"We've lost quite a bit of time because of this, so now we need to understand why did this happen.
"It's something that we regularly have with this car – struggling with the front in mid-corner and today there weren't any solutions."
Verstappen is a major threat to Hamilton's bid for an eighth world title to surpass Michael Schumacher and stand alone among F1 greats. He leads Hamilton 7-5 for wins this season and 7-3 for pole positions.
Hamilton, the championship leader, set a new lap record three times in qualifying but because his team incurred a 10-place grid penalty by changing his engine ahead of the race he will start 11th.
The AlphaTauri driver was .24 seconds quicker than Red Bull driver Sergio Perez and .6 clear of Perez's teammate Max Verstappen on the 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) Istanbul Park circuit.