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    Francorchamps 29 luglio 2023

    Scuderia Ferrari finished fourth and fifth in the Belgian Sprint Race courtesy of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. The result was not as good as expected, mainly down to traffic in the pit lane when all the drivers made their stops.

    Delayed start. Five minutes before the start the rain really came down heavily and so the start was delayed by 30 minutes, with all the cars having to fit extreme wet tyres. From third and fourth places, Carlos and Charles along with the rest of the pack left the grid behind the Safety Car which led the field round for five laps to clear away some of the standing water thus improving visibility. Once the rolling start was given, Carlos came straight into the pits as did Oscar Piastri ahead of him and a further eight cars. The Spaniard’s stop went to plan, but then he had to wait for a gap to appear in the queue of cars coming in to the pits, which cost him three places, putting him behind Pierre Gasly, Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton. Charles came in next time round and he too lost time in pit lane traffic, eventually rejoining behind his team-mate. This left Sainz and Leclerc with just six laps to try and move up the order and they managed to get ahead of Perez and then benefited from Hamilton’s five second penalty, for causing a collision with Perez, who then had to retire with car damage. Charles and Carlos crossed the line right behind Pierre Gasly and Hamilton, to be classified fourth and fifth.

    Race day tomorrow. Now the team is focussed on tomorrow’s Grand Prix when the drivers and teams face 44 laps and plenty of unknowns. The rain has meant that during the only free practice session on Friday, no one has been able to evaluate race pace on dry tyres, while the forecast for tomorrow is still unclear, even if there is less chance of rain. For the 20th time in his career, Charles starts from pole position with Carlos fourth on the grid.

    Carlos Sainz #55

    We had good pace with the Inters but we missed out on a better result. The pit stop was crucial today and unfortunately, we lost some valuable positions there. We will look into it, but apart from that it was a solid Saturday for the team and I felt good in these conditions.
    Now we focus on tomorrow: it's difficult to know how our pace will be during the race so I prefer to be cautious. However, I’m looking forward to putting everything together and finishing this first part of the season with a good result. Let’s race again!

    Charles Leclerc #16

    We didn’t maximise our package today. Starting on the Wets like everyone else, I pitted one lap after Carlos, which I think was the right choice because we would have lost more time stopping right behind him. Unfortunately, we lost time in the pitlane and as a consequence we lost some positions there.
    The race tomorrow will depend a lot on the weather, as teams have set up their cars for different conditions. It’s always a bit of a gamble here, not just in terms of strategy, but you need a bit of luck too. In any case, it should be a good fight and I look forward to getting back in the car.

    Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal

    Firstly, I think the race direction took the right decision about the start procedure. We have to put safety first and visibility has been the main concern. As for our race, we were unlucky to lose places with both Carlos and Charles, because both their pitstops were affected by traffic in pit lane, which meant we were unable to release our cars back into the fast lane. Unfortunately, it is always a bit risky when you are near the pit lane entry as you cannot see who is coming in from the track, so we didn’t want to take too many risks.
    Now we must focus on tomorrow. No one has been able to work on race pace and today’s Sprint did not provide any particularly useful information. From what we have seen so far, out performance seems quite good, on both the wet weather tyres and the dry ones and tomorrow’s weather could be a bit better with a lower chance of rain. Starting from first and fourth, we need to make the most of this opportunity.