Scuderia Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc secured a Ferrari third row lock out for the starting grid of the Hungarian Grand Prix in today’s qualifying session.
Vettel and Leclerc will start tomorrow’s grand prix, the third race in three weeks, in fifth and sixth on the grid and the team are looking for a safe start from the pair following last week’s double retirement following a clash between the drivers on the first lap of the Styrian Grand Prix.
Vettel, who posted the fifth fastest time of 1:14.774 in Q3, said: “I think it is a better weekend for us, as we already saw yesterday during free practice. But there is still a lot of work ahead for both of us. Starting on the Softs, we will be on a different tyre strategy to the four cars ahead of us and so we will see how that evolves, as we may have an advantage on the run to turn one and then for the first couple of laps.”
With a 90% risk of rain for the first part of qualifying, Q1, the drivers dived out the pit lane and onto the circuit in order to post fastest times on the chance rain hit and plagued the latter part of the session. Vettel posted a time of 1:15.455 and Leclerc 1:15.793 to get into Q2.
Q2 saw the pair start the session on softs, both drivers getting safely through to Q3.
After getting stuck in traffic in the latter stages of Q2, Leclerc got some clear runs during the 12 minute session, awarding the Monegasque racer with sixth place on the grid with a time of 1:14.817.
An optimistic Leclerc commented: “Third row with both cars is quite good for the team, especially as we are quite close to the second row. I am actually pretty happy. We made a step forward, which is nice to see. It wasn’t an easy session from my side, I was struggling a bit with my driving in Q1 and Q2 so I was not totally happy with the job I was doing, but it got better in Q3 and sixth place is a good place to start.
“I believe our race pace is stronger than our quali pace so with a good strategy we can take advantage of that and gain some positions. There’s everything to play for tomorrow. With regards to tomorrow’s weather, we have been quite good on a dry track so far and with rain we also have the pace, but it’s always a bit unpredictable so if anything, I would go for the dry.”
Mattia Binotto, team principal expressed his delight at the pace of the Ferrari, not being too far behind second row sitters, BWT Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.
Binotto said: “The result of qualifying is an accurate reflection of our current potential. We can’t really be happy about being on the third row, especially when you look at the gap to the team on the front.
“On a track with very different characteristics to the one in Spielberg, we managed to get the most out of our car, but it’s clearly not enough. In the race, our aim will be to pick up as many points as possible, making the most of any opportunities that come our way. We will also have to be ready for any eventuality, given that the weather forecast is very unpredictable.”