Scuderia Ferrari had a reasonable Saturday in Hungary, taking into account how the last two weekends in Austria had gone. In fact, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc both made it to the final stage of qualifying and will start the Hungarian Grand Prix, which starts at 15.10 CET tomorrow, from the third row, in fifth and sixth places respectively.
Risk of rain. There was a 90% chance of rain at the track as Q1 got underway so all the drivers rushed out to set a time to ensure they made it through to the next phase in case the threat materialised. Both drivers went out on Soft tyres with enough fuel for more than one flying lap. Leclerc started with a 1’16”074 and failed to improve next time, but Vettel went from 1’16”509 to 1’16”217. The track was evolving constantly and with overtaking very difficult at this track, the team played it safe and sent both SF1000s out again with a new set of Softs. Sebastian comfortably got through to the next part with a 1’15”455, while Charles got caught up in traffic and had to settle for a 1’15”793 to join his team-mate.
Q2. The drivers again ran a new set of Softs, Vettel getting the most out of them to do a 1’15”131, but Charles made a mistake in the second section, ending up with a 1’15”675. This wasn’t good enough for the top ten, but with the track improving all the time, both Ferrari men went back out on track on new tyres, even though Sebastian was already safely through at this point. Charles then managed a 1’15”006, which got him into Q3, and Sebastian aborted his run when he realised he was through already.
Final part. Sebastian and Charles got to the final 12 minute session to decide the top five rows of the grid with just one set of new Soft tyres left, so their first run was done on tyres already used in Q2. The German started with a 1’15”281 and the Monegasque a 1’15”575. After fitting the new sets, they went immediately out on track to have as traffic-free a run as possible. Sebastian did a good 1’14”774 while Charles a few seconds later posted a 1’14”817. There were three minutes to go, but none of their pursuers beat their time, to ensure an all Ferrari third row.
Sebastian Vettel #5
"I think it is a better weekend for us, as we already saw yesterday during free practice. But there is still a lot of work ahead for both of us. Starting on the Softs, we will be on a different tyre strategy to the four cars ahead of us and so we will see how that evolves, as we may have an advantage on the run to turn one and then for the first couple of laps.
The forecast says it might rain in the race and although we struggled a bit in the wet yesterday, it might actually give us a bit more of a chance tomorrow, although the two teams ahead of us seem to be on a different planet!"
Charles Leclerc #16
"Third row with both cars is quite good for the team, especially as we are quite close to the second row. I am actually pretty happy. We made a step forward, which is nice to see. It wasn’t an easy session from my side, I was struggling a bit with my driving in Q1 and Q2 so I was not totally happy with the job I was doing, but it got better in Q3 and P6 is a good place to start. I believe our race pace is stronger than our quali pace so with a good strategy we can take advantage of that and gain some positions. There’s everything to play for tomorrow. With regards to tomorrow’s weather, we have been quite good on a dry track so far and with rain we also have the pace, but it’s always a bit unpredictable so if anything, I would go for the dry."
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
"The result of qualifying is an accurate reflection of our current potential. We can’t really be happy about being on the third row, especially when you look at the gap to the team on the front. Having said that, it’s interesting to note the difference down the few straight sections on this track, between some cars and the rest of the pack. On a track with very different characteristics to the one in Spielberg, we managed to get the most out of our car, but it’s clearly not enough. In the race, our aim will be to pick up as many points as possible, making the most of any opportunities that come our way. We will also have to be ready for any eventuality, given that the weather forecast is very unpredictable.
Again today, our Ferrari Driver Academy students did very well, so congratulations to them, especially to Robert Shwartzman, who drove an incredible race and Mick Schumacher who had a great drive to third."