Charles Leclerc was the only Scuderia Ferrari to make it into final qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix, his team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr failed to make the final session and will start from twelfth.
It has been a difficult weekend for Ferrari, Leclerc has appeared to be the more comfortable of the two drivers so far in Austria which showed in qualifying. Seventh place for Leclerc isn’t the end of the world though and does open up some opportunities for the race.
Leclerc is confident that his SF21’s race pace is better than it’s one lap performance, leaving him optimistic heading into Sunday.
“P7 is not the ideal starting position, but it was in line with our expectations. Our race pace has been pretty solid this weekend, and we did not want to sacrifice it for a slightly better qualifying result. Tomorrow is what counts, and if our pace is as good as it has been so far this weekend, I am confident that we can gain some positions and bring home some good points.
“I am very happy with my lap and put everything I had into it without making mistakes. It was difficult with the traffic, especially in Q1. Then, in Q3, we decided to put on new tyres out of sync with the others to run in free air.
“We have worked well and I feel confident in the car. We will prepare as well as possible for tomorrow and hopefully we can have a good one.”
“We were not expecting miracles” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Sainz has had one of his most difficult weekends for Ferrari so far this season, the Spanish driver has struggled across both Friday and Saturday which on a circuit as short and close as the Red Bull Ring, isn’t ideal.
The only upside to his twelfth place start is that he has free tyre choice, giving him an opportunity to make some ground on Sunday.
“This was not such a good day. Yesterday we struggled with our one-lap pace, so we were not expecting miracles. Qualifying outside the top ten is not ideal, but with such a tight field on such a short track you have to nail all three sectors and I was missing a bit in sector 2. There’s some consolation in the fact that I have a free choice of tyre compound on which to start and we will try and make the most of that. Yesterday, our long run pace was not bad, so I hope I can get a good result.
This afternoon is not the end of the weekend and we’ll fight until the very last lap to get the best result possible.“