Carlos Sainz Jr. says most of Scuderia Ferrari’s focus on Friday at the Red Bull Ring was on long-run pace and testing ways to best keep life in their tyres, particularly on the back of their terrible French Grand Prix last Sunday.
Both Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc were unable to keep their tyres in a good operating window last weekend and, after Qualifying inside the top ten on Saturday, both feel out of the top ten to miss out on points.
Sainz says a lot of work will be done on Saturday morning in order to prepare for Qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix, but for now, they will be analysing the data acquired on Friday in order to prevent a repeat of what happened at the Circuit Paul Ricard last week.
“It was an intense Friday,” said Sainz, who ended eleventh in both Friday sessions. “In the morning, we tried various set-ups to find the best direction to follow regarding the tyres. Our main aim in both of today’s sessions was to understand the behaviour of the various compounds.
“Tomorrow we will concentrate more on enhancing the car’s performance on flying laps with the aim of qualifying well, but it will not be easy. Our race pace was not bad, but we are cautious and we will continue to analyse all the information and data gathered today.”
“Our long run pace seems quite competitive compared to our closest rivals” – Charles Leclerc
Team-mate Leclerc found his way into the top ten in the morning session but fell to thirteenth in the afternoon, and he was encouraged by the long run pace of his SF71 compared to Ferrari’s main rivals.
However, the Monegasque racer knows there is plenty of work to do overnight if they are to be competitive in Qualifying, which for Leclerc is a strange feeling with the short-run pace often better than Ferrari’s longer run pace.
“We learned a lot today, having tried many solutions,” said Leclerc. “Our long run pace seems quite competitive compared to our closest rivals.
“Where we did struggle a bit was with our qualifying pace, which it is not usually the case, so we will have to concentrate on this tonight and tomorrow. It’s hard to say if we have found the way to get the tyres to work at their best but we look in better shape when compared to the previous race.
“There’s still a question mark over the weather, as it could rain and also be cooler and that could make the situation even more complicated.”