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Best qualifying this year

Montmeló 08 May 2021

Charles Leclerc will start from fourth on the grid and Carlos Sainz from sixth in the Spanish Grand Prix that starts tomorrow at 15 CET at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit. Today’s qualifying was in line with the others so far this season, which confirmed Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow as the third force of the field over a single lap, particularly important here as the characteristics of the Spanish track make it one of the most probing on the calendar. 

Very close. Looking at the overall performance, today’s qualifying can even be seen as the best of the season for the Maranello team. For the third time in four races, Charles will start from the second row, behind three cars from the two teams fighting at the front, while Carlos lines up right behind him having missed out on repeating last week’s fifth place in Portugal by just four hundredths of a second. As expected, positions in the midfield are decided by hundredths, with fourth to eighth places separated by less than two tenths. 

Consolidation. The race should produce a similar scenario to qualifying, with the cars in the middle of the grid all having very similar performance levels. The Scuderia’s aim will once again be to repeat our qualifying result in the race, getting the most out of the SF21 over a race distance, something that has only happened occasionally so far this season. In Spain, more than ever, it will be important to get everything right, at the start and also during the pit stops, given that the most likely strategy is a two-stopper. 

Charles Leclerc #16

It was a good qualifying and I’m very happy with the result. Looking at the gap between us and the top three, P4 is a solid result today.

My Q2 lap was very clean and that’s good for the tyres that I will use for the start. I am concentrating on this a lot because tomorrow it will be important to start on a tyre with little degradation.

As a team, we start from P4 and P6, which is positive. Our race pace has been competitive and if we manage our tyres in the same way as we did yesterday, it should look good. Our target is to bring home as many points as possible. Overall it has been a good weekend so far and I hope that we finish it on a high.

Carlos Sainz #55

In general, today was a good qualifying session for the team, on a track where car balance and car performance in cornering are important and the SF21 is performing well. From my side I had a strong qualifying all the way through and I felt I could push the car.

I managed to go through Q1 with only one set and a couple of strong laps in Q2 put us through to the top 10. After a decent first run in Q3, I was looking forward to improving my lap time in the last attempt but due to small details I didn’t quite manage to nail it. Despite that, there are lots of positives to take from today and we are in a good position to fight tomorrow in the race. Let’s go!

Laurent Mekies Racing Director

A good qualifying which confirms our third place in the pecking order, at least on Saturdays. Now the priority is to repeat that performance on Sunday, something we’ve only managed to do intermittently. It's particularly significant therefore that our best team qualifying result from these first four rounds has come at this very challenging track. The gap to pole is half that of last year here, but it is still significant and even if we could have gone a fraction quicker, it would not have changed anything substantially.

Charles and Carlos, the latter racing here in red in his home race for the first time, both did a good job behind the wheel and in working with the team to get the most out of the SF21.

Tomorrow, we can expect a very tough race, given the very small gaps between ourselves and our closest rivals. If our strategy, reliability, teamwork and the drivers’ performance are all at their best, then we can aspire to a good result.