Leclerc Satisfied with Ferrari Progress after Dominating Qualifying in Spielberg

by Paul Hensby

Charles Leclerc was naturally delighted after securing his second career pole position at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday in dominating fashion.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver added the pole position in Austria to the one he earned in the Bahrain Grand Prix back in April, with his quickest lap on Saturday of 1:03.003 a new track record to the Red Bull Ring.  He was 0.259 seconds faster than his closest rival Lewis Hamilton, although the Briton has a three-place grid penalty for impeding former Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen during Q1.

Leclerc was satisfied to see the progress made by Ferrari with their updates, with the set-up of the car direction change making it a much looking machine compared to what it has been for most of the current campaign to date.

The one downside for Leclerc was the problems faced by team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who was unable to take to the track in Q3 after losing pneumatic pressure to the engine just as he was preparing to join the action.

“I am happy with qualifying today,” said Leclerc.  “It is satisfying to see that the work we did in preparation, especially in terms of the way we set up the car for Q3, has paid off so quickly.

“A great result for me, unfortunately not for the whole team with Seb having a problem in Q3.”

Leclerc says Ferrari’s long run pace during free practice gives him confidence that they can have an equally strong day on Sunday, with the popular twenty-one-year old looking to secure his maiden Formula 1 victory.

He will start the race on Pirelli’s softest compound having made it through to Q3 on that compound of tyre, but he hopes that this will benefit him at the start as his closest challengers – Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas – will both start on the medium compound.

“Hopefully, we will have a good race tomorrow,” added the Monegasque.  “I am happy about our tyre choice with the soft compound. It will be the key to have a good start and keep competitors behind, especially at the beginning of the lap.

“Our race pace was quite strong this weekend so I am confident that we can do a good job.”

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