Charles Leclerc was extremely pleased to be back on the front row after an exceptional end to Q3 for the Scuderia Ferrari driver at the Austrian Grand Prix.
0.048s was all stood between Leclerc and pole position, with Max Verstappen just beating the Ferrari man to secure his fourth consecutive pole position. Despite that, Lecler was really happy with the progress that Ferrari are making with their recent upgrade package seemingly taking them ahead of Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and Aston Martin Armaco Cognizant F1 Team in the performance standings.
Leclerc admitted that they didn’t expect to be so close to Oracle Red Bull Racing and Verstappen and is hoping that they can remain consistent as they head into an action-packed weekend with the Sprint race set to come on Saturday.
“It feels good to finally have a clean qualifying again and to be back on the front row. The feeling from the car has been a bit better in the last three races and then in Q1 and Q2, it was all about building up to that lap in Q3 and I managed to put everything into that last lap and got very close to Max.”
“We hadn’t expected to be that close to the Red Bull so it’s a good step forward and I would like to thank everyone back at the factory for all the work they have done in the last few weeks in order to bring an update package at Spielberg, earlier than planned. It’s really impressive and helped us to perform well today.
“Now we need to confirm that in the races, tomorrow and Sunday. Starting from the Sprint we need to focus on consistency and we will see on Sunday if we have the same race pace as in Montreal.”
Carlos Sainz: ” It was a positive day for me”
It was a positive day for Carlos Sainz Jr. who managed to qualify in the top three with an impressive performance.
The Spaniard was just over a tenth and a half behind Verstappen in first and he’ll be looking to try and support his teammate in the battle for a Ferrari win on Sunday with Verstappen. Sainz labelled it a positive day, and claims he is looking forward to racing on Saturday and Sunday with plenty of action yet to come at the Red Bull Ring.
“Overall it was a positive day for me and the team, as we will be starting P2 and P3 on Sunday. The car felt strong all day and I was fast from the very beginning, which is always a positive sign. We don’t really know how our pace compares to the others, but I’m really looking forward to racing tomorrow and Sunday.”
Sainz suggested post-qualifying that more needs to be done with the FIA to improve the rules regarding track limits, with the Spaniard claiming that he was forced into using an extra set of the soft compound tyres, which puts him on the back foot in tomorrow’s Sprint Showdown.
“Despite this good result, I think we should work together with the FIA to find alternative ways to decide track limits quicker and more efficiently. I had a good lap on my first attempt in Q2 and I was already preparing for Q3 when we had to go out again since there were doubts about my lap. This meant I had to use the extra set of Softs we had saved for the Sprint qualifying tomorrow and it could have been avoided, as my lap was not deleted.”