For the third time this season, following Austria and the Tuscan GP at Mugello, Scuderia Ferrari has scored points with both its SF1000s. Charles Leclerc finished the Portuguese Grand Prix in fourth place, the same position in which he started the race, while Sebastian Vettel managed to climb from 15th on the grid to 10th at the chequered flag.
Start. The getaway was chaotic, because when the lights went out at the Autòdromo Internacional do Algarve light rain started to fall. This made life particularly difficult for the drivers who were on Medium tyres. Charles therefore lost four places, slipping back to eighth place, while Sebastian reached the end of the first lap in 16th. As soon as Leclerc managed to get temperature into his tyres he nevertheless started to lap at an excellent pace – allowing him to pass the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Räikkönen and the McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz to make his way back up to fourth place. Sebastian similarly made ground, taking himself up to the fringes of the points.
Second part. Both the Scuderia drivers went for the same tactics: just one pit stop, in which they switched from the Medium compound to the Hard. This choice was spot on both for Charles, who was able to manage the gap to his chasers without problems, and for Sebastian, who managed to pass Räikkönen for tenth place near the end before challenging Ricciardo for ninth. Progress, then, for the Scuderia, which will return to the track for the 13th race of the season next Sunday at Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc #16
"We had a strong race and we are seeing some progress, which is very encouraging for the whole team and for me personally. We worked very hard on our race pace and finally we have had a weekend with both a decent qualifying and a good race, so I am very pleased.
The first stint was tricky. In the first few laps I had to keep focused as I was losing quite a lot of positions because we started on the Mediums. Lap after lap we got back to where we wanted to be and it was amazing.
It’s good to see the progress the team is making race after race. If I look at my personal performance so far it has been a good season. I still have work to do, there are definitely a lot of things I still need to improve and I hope that looking back at this year I will remember it as a positive one."
Sebastian Vettel #5
"I can’t be satisfied with any race where I only manage to take a single point. Unfortunately I didn’t make a good getaway, so instead of gaining places I lost one – and for us this season it is not so easy to overtake. When I had an empty track ahead of me the pace was quite good and this is what I will take away as the positive from here. With better qualifying we could have ended up with a more satisfying result."
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
"Overall this was quite a positive race. We scored points with both drivers, with Charles finishing in his start position, while Sebastian managed to take the last available point.
Charles had an excellent race, very mature. We knew that the first lap would be treacherous and so it proved, not least due to the drops of rain that fell right at that moment. Once his tyres were up to temperature, he was able to make up places and get himself into the position we had been hoping for before the race, consolidating fourth place and running at a strong pace.
Sebastian also found himself in difficulty at the start, losing some positions and in the end he didn’t manage to get any higher than tenth.
Now we must confirm the progress seen in recent races as we go into the last part of this championship. We are still a long way back in the Constructors’ Championship but it’s possible to make up ground: this must be our target and we must do everything to achieve it."