Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that Sebastian Vettel's dismal qualifying position for the Brazilian Grand Prix was down to nothing more than bad luck.
Vettel, who must finish at least second at Interlagos to maintain any hope of taking the world championship fight down to the final race of the season, failed to make it out of a wet Q1 and will start the race from 16th position. But Horner believes the performance was not the doing of the German driver, who has won three times already this year, and was instead down to his inability to get a clear track while the wet circuit was at its quickest.
"We're frustrated," Horner said. "It's desperately unlucky for Sebastian, because there was a window of about two-three laps when the circuit was at its best in Q1.
"With cars making mistakes ahead of him and yellow flags, it just never fell right for him, and he had to abort those laps -- which proved very expensive. When he finally did get a couple of clear laps at the end, the circuit was in such a poor conditions, there was no chance for him to set a representative time."
Horner believes that the performance of Vettel's teammate Mark Webber, who will start from the front row, was more indicative of the pace of the Red Bulls at Interlagos. With the setup of both cars geared more towards a dry race than a wet one too, he reckons both drivers will prove competitive in the race.
"As we saw from Mark's performance, it was clear that the car was very competitive in the wet or the dry, and on both extreme and intermediate tires, and for sure, Sebastian would have been right there if he'd have just snuck into Q2," he added.
"It will be a long race and it always throws up a few curveballs here. He [Vettel] just has to go for it. He's got [championship leader] Jenson [Button] just ahead of him, which is a surprise, and Mark's got to go for the front. We've just got to push as hard as we can from the first lap to the last lap."