Scuderia Ferrari had a nightmare of a qualifying session at Hockenheim ahead of the 2019 German Grand Prix, as Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc encountered problems in the garage that curtailed their runnings.
Vettel’s was the biggest shock, as he initially experienced a loss of power on track whilst he was on an out lap and returned to the garage immediately but would never return to the circuit after the team removed the engine cover to check what was a turbocharger issue in the power unit.
That resulted in the home hero being eliminated in Q1 without setting a time at all.
“I was counting on having fun this afternoon, because my SF90 had been very competitive in all the sessions so far. What has happened is a real pity,” Vettel said.
“I had good sensations from the car yesterday and this morning they had been even better. There was the possibility of starting from the first position, instead we will start from the last one and this is obviously disappointing, especially because it happened in front of so many fans in my home race.
“There could be no less suitable moment for what happened. I didn’t get any kind of hint of the problem, everything went smoothly but when I got out of the pitlane I found myself without power. However I remain positive, I think we can still do well and I will give my best to recover as many positions as possible, hoping to be able to bring home at least some points.”
When the Italian team thought it could not get any worse, it did when Leclerc suffered what was confirmed a fuel pump issue in the garage after Q2. Although he had made it through into Q3, he did not feature in the final part of qualifying and ultimately found himself tenth on the grid.
“It is a pity to have finished the qualifications in this way. The weekend until the end of Q2 was going the best way. Unfortunately these things happen every now and then,” Leclerc added.
“It is very difficult for a team to lose a car, but when it happens to lose both, it becomes really hard to accept. That being said, I will line up with optimism and I believe we can fight to earn as many positions as possible, especially in the early stages of the race.
“I am confident that we have an interesting race pace: everything is possible until the checkered flag is waved.”
Team Principal Mattia Binotto was bitterly disappointed with the disaster of Saturday qualifying and he knows that Ferrari have to bounce back in the race to salvage a good result, considering the pace they showed in the practice sessions.
“At the moment we feel regret and disappointment, as a team, for our drivers, who today had a great opportunity, for the people at home, who is working really hard, and for all our fans,” Binotto said sadly.
“We are analyzing in depth what happened but we can say that these are two different problems that never happened before. The first indications on Sebastian’s car make us think of a problem with a previously used new specification intercooler component. For Charles it was a problem related to the control of the fuel pump.
“We have shown that our race pace is good and it is even more regrettable not having been able to play the qualifications to the end.
“We are angry with ourselves and I feel the responsibility for what happened first, but I am equally aware that we must react and try to do well tomorrow because this is our duty.”