Sebastian Vettel conceded he did not extract the maximum from his Aston Martin despite reaching Q3 for the first time in 15 races.
Vettel has struggled since moving from Ferrari over the winter but pulled out a surprise performance in tricky conditions at Portimão to outqualify team-mate Lance Stroll for the first time.
The four-time world champion, who last qualified in the top 10 at the British Grand Prix last year, told Sky Sports F1: “It was very windy. Very difficult for us to get the laps together, both of us struggled.
“I think in Q1 it started to step up and I felt quite a bit more comfortable. Q2 we made it to Q3 so overall pretty happy with that. Not so happy with the final lap because I think I had a bit more in me.”
Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer said on Friday that Vettel has had trouble getting to grips with the unpredictability of the AMR21 that has been hampered by the downforce cuts introduced to all cars this season.
With high winds and cool conditions, coupled with a low-grip surface, mixing up the midfield order, seven different teams made it into Q3.
When asked of his prospects ahead of the race, Vettel commented: "The whole midfield pack is tight so we will see what we get."
“The wind is quite strong, it doesn’t make it easy to anticipate. At some stages, you were going faster and didn’t know why and in other stages you were going slower and didn’t know why. A tricky session but overall a bit better for us.”
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