Mixed fortunes in qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari in the Toscana – Ferrari 1000 Grand Prix, which starts tomorrow at 15.10 at the Mugello International circuit. Charles managed to secure a super fifth place on the grid, whereas Sebastian Vettel will start from back on the seventh row in 14th spot, having failed to make the cut to Q3.
Q1. All the teams opted to immediately run Soft tyres as they were definitely the quickest so far over a single lap at this track. Sebastian did a 1’17”343, while Charles got down to a 1’17”048, not quick enough to be sure of getting to Q2. Having waited for more cars to run and rubber in the track, the two SF1000s went back out on another set of new tyres. At that moment, Seb was 18th but made into the 15 that go through, with a 1’17”072. Charles improved to 1’16”698.
Q2. Again the Scuderia drivers went out on Softs with Seb the first to set a time in his number 5 car, with a 1’17”006, while Charles then did a good 1’16”324. The drivers then pitted for another set of new Softs to tackle another run. Vettel improved to 1’16”858 but would go no further as he was 14th, while Leclerc could not beat his previous time but was safe through to Q3 in eighth place.
Q3. In the final part to fix the top five rows, Charles first went out on used rubber, leaving his one remaining set of new Softs for when the track was at its most rubbered-in. However, especially over a flying lap, fresh tyres make a big difference so Charles was unable to do more than a modest 1’17”739. Once the number 16 SF1000 was fitted with the new tyres, Charles improved to a 1’16”270, fifth fastest.
Special moment. As mentioned, Ferrari will start its one thousandth Grand Prix tomorrow at 15.10. As part of the celebrations for this milestone, shortly before 2pm, Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) student Mick Schumacher will take to the track at the wheel of the F2004 which his father Michael drove in the year he last won the world championship.
Charles Leclerc #16
"I’m happy to be back in the top ten as I’ve missed tackling Q3 in recent races. The last two weekends have been extremely difficult for us so it’s nice to finally see the light.
It’s still a bit of an unknown where our pace came from, and it is very important for us to find out, because that’s how we will consistently be at our best.
The characteristics of this track suit our car better, that’s for sure. I think our medium-downforce package is better in terms of balance compared to our low-downforce one that we were running in Monza and Spa. I was struggling to drive the car there, and here I’m a bit more at ease with it, so I had more confidence and that also helped today.
P5 is definitely the best we could have done. We are lacking performance compared to the guys in front but overall I’m very happy with the balance, which is positive.
It’s going to be a difficult race because we have quite a lot of cars behind us that might turn out to be faster than us. Hopefully we can give our tifosi some entertainment and finish in this position or even better."
Sebastian Vettel #5
"I made a mistake in Q1, although I was still able to go through to the next part, but from then on we weren’t able to make any progress. We need to have a look at the data, but so far, I’m not really getting the hang of the car. I am trying to, but it will be a difficult race tomorrow, especially given our start position, which means we won’t be able to show our true pace. I am not happy with this result, but I have struggled a little bit this weekend so far, so lets see what we can do tomorrow. As for overtaking, everybody is saying it is difficult here, but as we have never raced here before, let’s see what happens tomorrow."
Laurent Mekies Sporting Director
"After two very tough weekends in Spa and Monza, we wanted to turn things around and we seem to have managed it. Charles is fifth on the grid, so that today at least, he is ahead of the group of drivers that normally fight over a few tenths. It’s the best we can do right now.
Sebastian’s result is not so good, but the gaps are very small: just five thousandths faster would have moved him up two places. We can expect a very tough race tomorrow on a beautiful and spectacular track that is also demanding for both the car and driver.
At least ten cars will be fighting for places right behind the top three and we will have to do everything perfectly when it comes to strategy, reliability and the work in the pitlane. Our aim is the same as always, to bring home as many points as possible. We will have some extra motivation from the fact we want to do our best on what is the Scuderia’s one thousandth Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix."