Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow secured its 62nd Formula 1 front row lockdown today. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were first and second fastest in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the second round of the Formula 1 World Championship. It was Charles’ first F1 pole, making him the second youngest ever pole man after Sebastian and the youngest ever Ferrari driver to claim the number one spot on the grid. For the Maranello marque, this is pole number 220.
Q1. Charles and Sebastian comfortably made the first cut. The Monegasque driver did a 1’28”495 on his first run, while Seb did a 1’28”733.
Q2. In the second part of qualifying, traffic played a crucial role. Charles managed to get a clean run amongst the many cars on track, doing a 1’28”046 at his first attempt, which was good enough to put him in the fight for pole. Things did not go as smoothly for Sebastian, who was stuck behind slower cars, which meant he could do no better than 1’29”233, which was potentially not enough to get into the top ten. Therefore the German had to fit a second set of tyres to get through in 1’28”356, which left him with only one set of new tyres for the final shoot-out.
Q3. In the final part, Charles immediately posted an excellent 1’27”958 before pitting and waiting for the track to rubber-in still further, before trying to improve on new tyres. Sebastian made his only run when there were just under five minutes remaining, to go second quickest in 1’28”160. Not long after he crossed the line, Leclerc came along again and despite being sure of starting from pole, improved still further setting a new track record of 1’27”866. The Bahrain Grand Prix starts tomorrow at 18:10 local time (17:10 CET.)
Charles Leclerc #16
“This first pole position brings me a lot of emotions, even if I’m trying to stay as cool as possible, as there are no points for pole position and the race is tomorrow. It has been a great day and a great weekend overall for the team so far, so I hope it will continue tomorrow. I said it was a question of putting everything together for qualifying and it seems I did it, unlike what happened in the first race. It’s an amazing feeling but now we have to focus on the race and try to bring home the best possible result tomorrow. I feel more comfortable in the car lap after lap so I’m satisfied. Before the race we will talk with the team to find the perfect strategy in order to give the Scuderia the best possible result. The start will probably be the key as the track is dirty and it’s easy to have wheelspin”.
Sebastian Vettel #5
“Today we were in the fight. The main thing is we are back where we want to be. It’s tomorrow that counts, but for today we can certainly be very happy as we are in a much better place than two weeks ago. Today it’s about Ferrari and about Charles who did a very very good job and nailed his laps in Q3 and he deserved to be on pole. He’s a good kid, actually, a good man, because once you get a pole in Formula 1 you are a man! It’s a big achievement and I am happy for him. Chapeau! Our one lap pace was there the whole weekend and we were able to confirm this in qualifying. I’m a lot happier today and it’s good to see that we are back on the right track”.
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“We are all very pleased for Ferrari, for Charles’ very first pole, for having locked down the first row and for our comeback after Australia. The team reacted strongly and worked well, united and focused. It’s a great team, a very good team. There’s also an excellent spirit of cooperation between our drivers and Charles is indeed a good kid. Our qualifying pace was good but it was a tough one and it’s tomorrow that really counts. It’s a very long way to the chequered flag and reliability will be important. We need to stay calm and concentrated, as our rivals will be trying to make our life difficult tomorrow. It’s a long season, so let’s take it step by step.”