Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix / SPIELBERG

QUALIFYING: Tougher than expected
Ferrari F1 Pilot Charles Leclerc Copyright: Mandoga Media
( | Press Release | 2020-07-04 23:04:23 )
Even before taking to the track, Scuderia Ferrari was aware that it would not have an easy time of it at the Austrian Grand Prix. This afternoon’s qualifying confirmed that and produced a scenario that was even more complex than one could have expected, with around ten cars fighting down to the thousandth of a second for grid places from the third to the seventh row. This was compounded by the very short lap length. Charles Leclerc managed to get through to the final part of qualifying and was seventh fastest to start from row four. Sebastian Vettel had a more difficult time of it and got no further than Q2, having to settle for eleventh place on the sixth row of the grid for tomorrow’s race that gets underway at 15.10 CET.

Q1. When qualifying began at 3pm, the track temperature was 53 and the air 27. Both drivers began on the Soft tyre: Sebastian did a 1’04”554 which was good enough for the next phase. Charles was a few tenths slower and so to avoid the risk of being eliminated, he pitted for a new set of tyres, with which he comfortably got to Q2 with a time of 1’04”500.

Q2. In the second phase, Charles and Sebastian found themselves fighting with around ten drivers all of whose times were very close. Charles first run was a 1’04”057 while Sebastian did a 1’04”331. The two drivers then pitted for a new set of Softs as the track seemed to improve. Both of them managed to improve, but while the Monegasque got into Q3 with a 1’04”041, the German’s time of 1’04”206 meant he was just outside the top ten so that he starts from eleventh on the grid.

Q3. In the part that decides the top five rows of the grid, Charles first went out on used Softs, making a small mistake at the first corner on his way to a time of 1’04”539. He came in for his last set of new Softs to post a good 1’03”932, which saw him in sixth place almost to the very end, until he was pushed back to the fourth row. It’s not all bad as it means he gets to start from the clean side of the track. It will be a tough race tomorrow in which being patient and not making mistakes will be key.

Charles Leclerc #16 :
"Seventh place is the best we could do today. Of course it’s not where we want to be but we are just not quick enough, so we need to work hard and try to catch up. There’s still a bit of performance we can get here and there and we need to put everything together, getting the best out of the package we have, because for now it’s all we’ve got. The smallest detail is very important as everyone is very close now.
It was a difficult day but at least now we know where we are. As a team all we can do is cheer up and find the positive in all of this, even though it’s not easy. We need to work all together in a constructive way and try to do the best job possible to improve things in the next few races. We should keep our moral up and be motivated and just work to improve. This is the way forward to get out of these hard times. The balance of the car is quite good but it’s the overall performance which is still not good enough.
As for the race, anything can happen and having a good strategy with the right tyre management, maybe we can score some good points."

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