Formula 1

Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies: “We got some calls just right and others less so”

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Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre

Laurent Mekies admitted Scuderia Ferrari did not get all of their calls right during Qualifying for the São Paulo Grand Prix on Friday, particularly when it came to Charles Leclerc in Q3.

Ferrari appeared to have good pace in the one practice session prior to the Qualifying hour, but when the weather changed ahead of Qualifying, the session became more of a lottery for everyone.

The team opted to put Leclerc onto intermediate tyres to start Q3 – the only driver not to go out on slicks – and as a result, he was unable to set a time meaning he will start tenth.  Carlos Sainz Jr. did get a lap in, but it was only good enough for fifth.

“Today’s qualifying was something of a lottery,” said Mekies, the Racing Director at Ferrari. “The whole session was hard work and we got some calls just right and others less so, as was the case with Charles at the start of Q3.

“We split the strategies because we knew rain was imminent. In fact, the drivers on Soft tyres only just had time to put in a lap before the rain became heavy. It’s clearly frustrating for Charles and for all of us, because, this season, we have had some great qualifying sessions in equally difficult conditions. We will try and move forward, learning from today.

“We weren’t the only team to have had mixed fortunes in qualifying, with one car towards the front and another further back.”

Mekies says there are two chances this weekend to make progress with both drivers, with Saturday’s sprint race the first shot. Sainz, who will drop five places on the grid on Sunday thanks to a penalty, will be aiming for the podium, while Leclerc is aiming for the top six.

“It’s just the start of a long weekend and we will try and get the most out of tomorrow’s Sprint in which our drivers will have similar goals,” Mekies added.

“Carlos will be trying to finish as high up as possible to counteract the five place grid penalty which he has on Sunday, while Charles will be aiming to secure a place in the front three rows of the grid for the Grand Prix.”

Mekies was also happy to congratulate Kevin Magnussen and the Haas F1 Team – one of Ferrari’s customer teams – for taking pole position on Friday.

“Finally, congratulations to the Haas F1 Team and Kevin Magnussen on their first ever pole,” Mekies said. “It’s a day they will never forget.”

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