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    Perfect teamwork

    Le Castellet 23 luglio 2022

    When the French Grand Prix gets underway at 15 CET tomorrow, Charles Leclerc will start from pole position at Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard circuit. The performance was down to Scuderia Ferrari getting everything out of its package, along with an important contribution from Carlos Sainz. As the Spaniard starts from the back of the grid tomorrow with a penalty for taking on a fourth Power Unit this season, he was able to concentrate on giving his team-mate a tow in Q3, which he did to great effect, helping Charles to take the number one slot on the grid. This was the Maranello team’s 238th Formula 1 pole, its eighth of the season. For Charles it was the 16th of his career, the seventh this year, which therefore sees him equal his own record set from 2019.

    Q3. Both drivers got their F1-75s comfortably through to the final phase of qualifying, in which teamwork came into play, as on both his runs, Charles was able to get a tow from Carlos’ slipstream. It was effective down the main straight before the first chicane and especially so after that and through the Signes corner. The first run produced a 1’31”209, followed by an incredible 1’30”872, which proved to be unbeatable, and the only lap of the day under the 1m 30s barrier. The fact that Carlos got to Q3 has gained him a place on the grid, putting him 19th on the clean side, ahead of Kevin Magnussen, who also has a penalty.

    Very tough race. Leclerc will be aiming to convert today’s result into a win tomorrow, while Sainz will have to fight his way up the order. In both cases, tyre management will play a key role. Charles will also want to keep his rivals more than one second behind in the opening laps in order not to give them the advantage of using the DRS. The whole team will now be working on achieving this as it prepares for tomorrow’s race, to be run over 53 laps, equivalent to 309.69 kilometres.

    Charles Leclerc #16

    Leading up to this afternoon, it had been quite a difficult weekend for me. I struggled with the balance and knew that in this kind of heat, you pay the price for the smallest mistake because your tyres overheat. 

    Today, I felt good building up to that last lap in Q3. Carlos gave me a nice tow, which helped me to have a bigger margin and seal pole position. It was a good qualifying with great teamwork behind it.                                                                                     

    Our competitors are extremely strong here. It seems that they have an advantage in terms of race pace, but I’m confident we can turn it around and hopefully we will keep that first place tomorrow.

    Carlos Sainz #55

    Given I’ll serve the penalty tomorrow, today was all about helping the team maximise the result and we executed a strong Qualifying. The plan was to go through Q1 and Q2 with only one attempt and then use Q3 to give a tow to Charles, which we did perfectly as a team.

    I’m happy because of that and because I’ve been fast and comfortable on track the entire weekend. In Q2 I pushed a bit more to test the limits and the time was very competitive. I would have obviously liked to do a normal session, but I prefer to take the positives as we keep taking steps in the right direction.

    We know that tomorrow won’t be an easy race but I’m looking forward to it. We will have to manage the tyres carefully while trying to move up the order, but I’m ready for it!

    Laurent Mekies Sporting Director

    This pole feels special, because it’s the result of a perfectly executed piece of teamwork. Congratulations to Charles who made a lot of progress over the course of the weekend, confirming once again how fantastic he is on a flying lap. And really well done to Carlos who has consistently had a great pace. With a penalty for the power unit change, he then put himself at the service of the team, towing Charles on both his Q3 runs, thus contributing to the final result.

    Now comes the hardest test, the Grand Prix itself on a track  that, in the past, has proved to be particularly complicated for us. After last season’s race here, we have worked on track and in Maranello to find a solution to the limitations we experienced on these types of circuit. So now we are keen to see how much progress we have made and how much more we still need to do in order to improve. 

    We will now analyse all the data to prepare for the 53 lap race, down to the smallest detail, in order to convert today’s result with Charles, even though our rivals have demonstrated excellent pace. It will be a case of two against one, which means it will be even more important to do everything to the best of our ability. Of course, we are also expecting to see Carlos work his way through the field and help us bring home a lot of points for both championships.