Laurent Mekies says he is ‘getting used’ to seeing Charles Leclerc pulling out stunning performances during Qualifying sessions, but he felt it was an ‘incredible’ lap by the Monegasque racer to take pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Saturday.
Leclerc took a fourth consecutive pole position and his sixth in eight races in 2022 on Saturday, with his last lap almost four-tenths of a second faster than what anyone else could manage.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. was fourth on the grid after a mistake on his final run prevented him from improving on his first effort, but Mekies, the Racing Director at Scuderia Ferrari, was happy to see both drivers inside the top four.
“It was a very closely contested qualifying,” said Mekies. “We’re now getting used to Charles producing an incredible lap in Q3 and today, on his last run, we saw once again how he can always get a little something extra out of himself and his car.
“Carlos also had a very good qualifying and in fact after the first run in Q3 he was quickest. At all tracks, it’s important to always be able to count on having both drivers at the front and here, we can expect a very tactical race, so having Carlos right up there with the Red Bulls means we can fight them on equal terms.”
Mekies now hopes the team can convert their strong performance in Qualifying into a good result on Sunday, with Ferrari aiming to end Oracle Red Bull Racing’s run of four consecutive victories.
“Now, we are preparing for the race, along with our colleagues back in Maranello,” said Mekies. “We know that, in race trim, our closest rivals are quicker than in qualifying and maybe they have the edge over us when it comes to straight line speed.
“However, given what we have seen so far this weekend, I think the smallest detail can make the difference in the race, with many factors coming into play. The first of these is tyre management and as we can expect very hot conditions, race pace will be key.“