Charles Leclerc snatched fourth place on the starting grid of the Eifel Grand Prix on Saturday as well as at Silverstone 1 last July. At 0 ”766 behind Valtteri Bottas' Mercedes in pole position, just ahead of Alexander Albon's Red Bull, which had not happened since Silverstone 2 in early August.
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When he got out of the car, Charles Leclerc, better qualified than Sebastian Vettel for the eighth time this season in eleven sessions on Saturday, did not hide his satisfaction. "This result is better than expected, especially in these cold conditions, but we have brought some new parts here, which make a little difference in the right direction, which is nice to see., said the native of Monte-Carlo. I'm delighted with the way we worked and how things turned out. "
However, maximizing the potential of the "rossa" after an hour of training in the morning, following the cancellation of the runs on Friday, was not easy. "I rather like the fact that I only had one free practice session before going into qualifying, he rejoiced. We made the most of the situation, although we don't have a lot of information on long runs with fuel. In Q3 there was a strong wind which made the car unpredictable. "
And even if the eleventh round of the World Cup looks like an enigma for the whole pitlane, he does not lose sight of the essential. "Sunday, we will be a bit in uncharted territory, but if I know one thing, it is that it will be important to manage the 'tender' because they are delicate with grain", he warned.
For his teammate Sebastian Vettel, the afternoon was still frustrating. Even if his SF1000 did not have, according to him, the 0 "374 that he missed to take the place of Esteban Ocon (Renault) in Q3. "I tried everything but I really struggled with the car in sector 1 and I slipped a lot, explained the German, who greeted the sparse crowd, in his turn of return. Too bad I couldn't go to Q3 because I felt good in the car and I think I had a decent pace. "
For him, in fact, the update of the Maranello single-seater has changed nothing, or very little. "I just rode with the developments in the afternoon, because we had little time in free practice and we also had to make a comparison with two cars on different configurations, he said. But I don't think they make a big difference. " Sunday, he will still have a wild card to kill. "I hope that with the free choice of tires we will have a little luck", he said.
"Good sign for the end of the season"
The results of the Reds are mixed, but we must not lie. We appreciate in Maranello that the pilot who will continue the adventure until 2024 hoists everyone to the top. "This is our best qualification since mid-season, not only in terms of result but also in terms of performance, rejoiced Laurent Mekies. Charles did a fantastic job: he was comfortable on the track right from the start and he went faster and faster, eventually equaling his best performance of the season, pulling the essence of his SF1000. "
"Sebastian struggled a bit and couldn't pass the cut in Q2, but at least he will have the choice of his tires for the first stint", added the sports director. “The minor upgrades made here and two weeks ago in Sochi have given us a bit more performance – nothing exceptional but when the gaps are small it doesn't take much to make a significant difference. is that these developments indicate that the work done at Maranello is going in the right direction, which is a good sign for the end of the season, but especially the next one. "
"The result means that we can attack the race with different strategies", he said. Charles Leclerc in "tender", Sebastian Vettel will therefore be in "medium" at the start to make a longer first stint.
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