After a very promising showing from the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow team, it was a slightly underwhelming qualifying with Charles Leclerc qualifying in a brilliant fourth and team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. not managing to make the cut for the final qualifying session.
Leclerc feels that it was a very successful qualifying even though the team may have struggled to maximise the most out of the car than they did on Friday. Ferrari chose to take a compromise in qualifying in terms of set-up but this will make them faster in the race so the Monegasque driver will be hoping that this propels him even further up the grid and closer to a podium.
“It was a very good qualifying, even though I feel we struggled a bit more compared to yesterday to achieve the lap times we wanted. We took a small compromise in terms of setup that will help us in the race tomorrow. It made it a bit more difficult in quali, so let’s wait and see.”
Leclerc made a minute error in the chicane which lost him almost a tenth of a second but this wouldn’t have changed any positions so the Monegasque driver can come away happy with a Fourth position in qualifying.
“I made a small error in the chicane, maybe I could have gained another 7 or 8 hundredths there, but looking at the time sheets it wouldn’t have changed our position, so I am very happy with P4 today.”
The track is so amazing to drive and you cannot afford to make any mistakes on these ‘older style’ circuits, on top of this you don’t really need to worry about tyre management which makes the track even better as it allows the drivers to push constantly throughout the race.
“The track is amazing. I love it because you cannot afford to make any mistakes. There is not much tyre management involved, which is something we drivers like, because it means we can push throughout the race.”
Leclerc expects it to be a difficult race as the SF21 is lacking in straight line speed, but hopefully they have a good enough package to at least retain their fourth position on the first few laps and after that overtaking is difficult so it should be easier to retain that position. The performance of the car has improved, so much so that Leclerc was not really surprised to qualify fourth on the grid.
“It should be an exciting but difficult race. We are lacking a bit of straight line speed, so hopefully we will have a good enough pace to get away. If not, it will be a bit more difficult, but I think that our performance overall is better here than it was in Bahrain. At Sakhir it was a real surprise to be P4 on the grid, today, a bit less so.”
There is a really good feeling in the team at the moment, which is causing some good momentum and Leclerc feels that they need to use this to their benefit and work as hard as possible whilst still keeping their feet on the ground. If all this falls into place then Leclerc is confident that good times are ahead.
“There is a lot of motivation in the team, a good momentum. We need to use it and continue to work as hard as possible as a team, keep our feet on the ground and continue to push as we have been doing for the past months. Then I am sure the good days are soon to come.”
“I struggled to nail all the corners in one single lap since the beginning of qualifying” – Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz’s second qualifying with the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow team was not a great one, not managing to make it into Qualifying-3, but Ferrari have a fast car so the Spaniard will be hoping that this will allow him to make up some positions and score some good points.
Sainz feels that today’s result was not the one that they were hoping for, the Spaniard struggling to nail every single corner, which is crucial if you want to put your car high up on the grid. It is even more frustrating as Sainz feels that a good lap-time was there had he been able to put a better lap in.
“Today’s result is not what I wanted. I struggled to nail all the corners in one single lap since the beginning of qualifying. Every small mistake can cost you many positions in this tight field, so I am not happy because I know the lap time was there had I been able to make it all work on one strong lap.”
Sainz feels that Imola with its twisty nature has exposed his lack of experience in the SF21 which will come the more time he spends in the car and with the team, but for now the Spanish driver is still on a steep learning curve.
“At the same time, I think this track has exposed that I still lack a bit of experience with the car to exactly know what to expect and how to extract the absolute maximum of it. It will come, I’m sure, but I feel I’m still on a learning curve.”
In the race, Sainz will be giving everything to ensure that the car finishes further up the field than it starts, the advantage of qualifying outside the top ten means that the Spanish driver will have a choice of tyre and if he wants to score points using this to his advantage is a good place to start.
“Into tomorrow, you can be sure I’ll give my absolute best to gain positions and fight for the best result possible. I’m confident in my pace and we will try to use the free tyre choice to our advantage.”