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    A tricky Friday

    Scuderia Ferrari had a difficult time of it in qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix, under the floodlights at the Lusail circuit.

    Lusail 06 ottobre 2023

    Scuderia Ferrari had a difficult time of it in qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix, under the floodlights at the Lusail circuit. When Sunday’s race gets underway at 20 local (19 CEST) Charles Leclerc will start from fifth on the grid, while Carlos Sainz will line up 12th on the sixth row, having failed to make the cut out of Q2 by a couple of thousandths of a second.

    Q2. Having comfortably made the cut out of Q1, Charles and Carlos started Q2 on used Soft tyres and then went for a second run on new ones. Leclerc got through in seventh place, but Sainz struggled to get a feel for his SF-23 to the extent that he failed to get through, albeit just 31 thousandths slower than tenth placed Valtteri Bottas. 

    Q3. Leclerc had two new sets of Soft tyres for the final part, but he aborted his first run after making a mistake in the first sector, not setting a particularly good time when he went for another run. He pitted for his second set of tyres and gave it his best shot to lap in 1’24”424. This put him seventh on the time sheet, but when both McLaren drivers had their best times disallowed for exceeding track limits, Charles was promoted to fifth.

    Sprint Saturday. Tomorrow is given over to the Sprint, with the grid-deciding Shootout starting at 16 local (15 CEST) with less time for each phase than in regular qualifying and with obligatory use of the Hard compound in Q1, Medium in Q2 and Soft in Q3. The race, over 19 laps, gets underway at 20.30 (19.30 CEST). Points are on offer for the top eight finishers from 8 to 1 and will also provide an opportunity to gather long run data as that had not really been possible in the only free practice session of the weekend, held earlier today.

    Sunday. Looking ahead to the Grand Prix itself, Charles will have the advantage of starting from the clean side of the track. This proved to make a considerable difference in the 2021 race, because of sand off the racing line down the pit straight. Leclerc will be aiming to fight with his usual opponents, while Carlos will be aiming to work his way up the order to try and finish in the points.


    Charles Leclerc #16

    I had to abort my first run in Q3, after running wide in a corner in the first sector and so I only had one lap left to set a competitive time. It was quite tough to get the tyres to work today: on the first flying lap the rears were not working as expected and the situation only improved when you continued to push, which is not ideal in qualifying. Now, we’ll give it our all for tomorrow to get on the pace that we lacked today.


    Carlos Sainz #55

    Overall, it’s been a difficult Friday. I struggled with the car balance and couldn’t find decent grip out there in qualifying. I’m obviously not happy but we’ll see what we can do for tomorrow. Hopefully we can turn it around for the Sprint and we’ll fight hard to recover on Sunday.


    Frédéric Vasseur - Team Principal

    Unfortunately, today’s result was not too much of a surprise as we knew this track would not suit our car that well. On top of that, we also had problems managing the package we had as we didn’t manage to get the tyres working well, especially the Softs in the first sector. 
    On his only run in Q3, Charles did his best after Carlos missed the cut out of Q2 by the smallest of margins, also having a few problems with track limits which made life more complicated than expected. This could turn out to be an issue in the race too, especially if the wind is gusty.
    Tomorrow, we have another qualifying session, which takes place at the hottest time of day, while the Sprint will allow us to gather information about our race pace with the track in similar conditions to the ones we will encounter in the Grand Prix itself.

    06 ottobre, 2023