Formula 1

Charles Leclerc: “Coming into the weekend we expected it to be like this”

3 Mins read
Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc admitted the result of Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix was to be expected, with the Autodromo Nazionale Monza amongst the worst tracks on the calendar for Scuderia Ferrari’s SF1000.

Leclerc failed to advance into the top ten shootout for the second consecutive weekend, and much like at Spa-Francorchamps seven days ago, he will line-up thirteenth on the grid. 

The Monegasque racer says the team have been working hard on trying to find solutions to their problems, but they have been unsuccessful.  However, he insists he will not lose his motivation and will fight until the end to maximise his result.

“Coming into the weekend we expected it to be like this,” said Leclerc.  “We knew that Spa and here are probably the two worst tracks for us, but this is our situation at the moment.

“It’s tough, because once you do a good lap and you end up P13 it doesn’t feel good. But for now I need to try and extract the maximum out of the car in the situation we are in. 

“Of course, it hurts even more as this is our home race, but it’s the reality for us at present, unfortunately. We need to work and hopefully Mugello, which is still home soil for Ferrari, will be a bit better than here.

“Last weekend and here, we have been trying many things on the car, but we are not finding a solution. So, we need to keep our head down, stay motivated, and I’m sure better days will come” 

“I found myself in the middle of the mess and didn’t get a lap” – Sebastian Vettel

Team-mate Sebastian Vettel was caught out by traffic in the closing stages of Q1 that made it impossible for him to improve on his earlier lap time.  The failure to negotiate the traffic ensured he qualified a lowly seventeenth.

Heading into the first turn, Vettel knew that he was doomed not to set a competitive lap time as he found himself as one of six drivers attempting to use the same part of tarmac, and he criticised the drivers who had decided to overtake heading into the final turn that caused the chaos.

“There’s not much to say about this session,” said Vettel.  “There were a lot of cars in front of me when I started my second quick lap. In that moment I knew it wouldn’t be possible to improve my time.

“I don’t know why the other drivers started to overtake on the warm-up lap. I found myself in the middle of the mess and didn’t get a lap. Everybody should stay in the position they are in the line, then everybody opens a gap and it should be fine to set a time. 

“From our side, probably we didn’t pick the right time to get back on track and some others managed to do better than us, as they improved.  Of course, starting from so far back on the grid means it will not be an easy race, but you never know what can happen and we will see what we can do.”

“The result is very disappointing but unfortunately, hardly surprising” – Laurent Mekies

Laurent Mekies, the Sporting Director at Ferrari, admitted the result of Qualifying did not come as a surprise to the team, and they knew heading into the weekend that Monza was going to highlight the weaknesses of the SF1000 as much as Spa-Francorchamps did last week.

But one highlight for the team comes in the form of the Ferrari Driver Academy, with Mick Schumacher taking his first win of the 2020 FIA Formula 2 championship on Saturday afternoon.  Schumacher also sits third in the Drivers’ Standings behind two other Academy members in Robert Shwartzman and Callum Ilott.

“The result is very disappointing but unfortunately, hardly surprising,” said Mekies.  “As was the case in Spa a week ago, we knew that on tracks like these, with characteristics that highlight our car’s weaknesses, we would struggle.

“Now we and the drivers have to focus to be as well prepared as possible for tomorrow’s race, ready to make the most of any opportunity that could come our way. That’s for right now, but even more importantly, we must continue to work hard to improve the car for this season and the next.

“On a difficult day like this, there was one ray of sunshine thanks to the guys in the Ferrari Driver Academy who are racing in Formula 2, with Mick Schumacher taking his first win of the season. It’s great to see that, at the moment, the top three in the series, leader Robert Shwartzman, Callum Ilott and Mick himself, are all products of our Academy.”

Sebastian Vettel will start seventeenth at Monza – Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
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