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    Damage limitation

    Scuderia Ferrari leaves Qatar with ten points, courtesy of a fifth place for Charles Leclerc in a race which was very much a case of damage limitation.

    Lusail 08 ottobre 2023

    Scuderia Ferrari leaves Qatar with ten points, courtesy of a fifth place for Charles Leclerc in a race which was very much a case of damage limitation, given that Leclerc’s was the only Ferrari, after a fuel system problem on Carlos Sainz’s 55 car meant he was unable to line up on the grid.

    The race. There were not many strategy options to consider given that the number of pit stops was dictated by the decision on safety grounds to only allow a driver to complete 18 laps on a single set of tyres, applicable across all three compounds, including any laps these tyres had been used for earlier in the weekend. Charles therefore had to concentrate mainly on driving in terribly hot and humid conditions, while avoiding the pitfall of track limits which caught out many drivers. The Monegasque did his best, running at a consistent pace, getting the most out of his package. Starting from fifth on the grid, Charles immediately inherited two places when the Mercedes pair collided, although he lost one to Oscar Piastri, thus finding himself in fourth place at the end of the opening lap. During the race, Leclerc had to give best to George Russell who came through from the back of the pack, running a stronger pace and finishing just ahead of him.

    Go again in a fortnight. The team heads home to Italy tomorrow to start preparations for a particularly busy time in the Americas with a triple-header consisting of three consecutive Sundays in Austin, Mexico City and Sao Paulo.


    Charles Leclerc #16

    We maximized our potential today. It was a case of damage limitation, with Carlos already out just before the start, In the race, we had to give ourselves a bit of a margin with the way I was driving and bring it home safely. We expected McLaren to be strong, but not as strong as what we saw this weekend. Mercedes also had a strong pace and I think that George (Russell) wasn’t pushing as hard as he could.
    Physically, it was the toughest race of my career. That was due to a number of things: very high temperatures, three stops – which meant putting in qualifying laps in every lap of the race – and as a result, much more stress in the high speed corners. 
    Next up is the triple header and we will do everything to finish the season on a high, especially in our battle in the Constructors’ Championship.


    Carlos Sainz #55

    We are disappointed as today was a lost opportunity. We all know motorsport can be cruel at times and today I got a taste of the worst of it. It’s a pity because I think I could have run a good race today and scored some important points for the Constructors’ Championship.
    As in every situation, there's always something to learn for the future. Now it’s time to focus on the last five races of the year.


    Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal

    We can’t be satisfied with how things went this weekend, because we have lost points to our closest rival and we were unable to get Carlos to the grid because of a reliability problem. 
    However, I think we did the most we could today with Charles. In extreme conditions he drove very well and the mechanics delivered three excellent pit stops. Maybe in the middle stint, we were slowed a bit by traffic, but anyway, it would not have been easy to keep George Russell behind us today. It was a chaotic weekend, held in very tough conditions with several unexpected factors, starting with the problems linked to the kerbs, which might have actually had something to do with the failure on Carlos’ SF-23. We go home with 10 points from Charles' fifth place and will start preparing for the triple-header in the Americas which look like being very tough.

    08 ottobre, 2023