It is no longer rare to see Ferrari only communicating about a driver. On Saturday, this is what the Scuderia did again by titling its official press release on Charles Leclerc, who "surpasses himself by qualifying in the second row". Without adding a word of support to his second driver in distress, Sebastian Vettel; just a presentation, in the factual account, of his recurring tire woes.
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The Monegasque therefore snatched a nice fourth place after qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix. A stopwatch which placed his SF1000 n ° 16 at 0 "438 from Lewis Hamilton's leading Mercedes. Admittedly after a rather short lap – 1'16" 828 for the Briton – but which is far from the second that the "rossa" cashed regularly not so long ago.
After Silverstone 1, Mugello and Nürburgring, it is therefore the fourth time that the leader of the Scuderia is the "best of the others", ie the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers. Perhaps it is no coincidence that he beat Red Bull second driver Alexander Albon for the fourth time this season. He knows it, that's where the path to the top 4 goes.
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix
Credit: Getty Images
"Friday already, I had a good feeling"
On new asphalt, smooth as rarely, the teams had great difficulty in bringing the front and rear Pirelli up to temperature in a coordinated manner. Ferrari, which has stumbled over the problem since the start of the season, has not escaped the puzzle. In the impossibility as at the Nürburgring, two weeks ago, to properly heat the "tender" on a time lapse, in addition to destroying them at high speed in the race, the native of Monte-Carlo passed the cut as everyone in Q1 in "tender" (P6), then he qualified in "medium" in Q2 (P8), before taking them again in Q3 (P4).
"I'm very happy with my last lap, said Charles Leclerc. I think we got everything out of the car that she could. Well done to the team for a great job, both in Maranello and here. The latest developments have also brought some performance and the recent qualifying sessions have shown that we are moving in the right direction. Friday already, I had a good feeling for this Saturday. I'm happy to be out of Q2 with the 'medium' because I'm sure it's the ideal tire for the start. In Germany, we suffered from the cold with the 'tender' while there it is not cold and we have the 'medium'. If I get off to a good start, we can fight for a big result. "
Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix
Credit: Ferrari S.p.A.
"The traffic is probably going to be a big problem"
Relegated to almost 0.6 behind his leader in Q2, author of the 15th and final time behind George Russell and his not dazzling Williams, Sebastian Vettel was therefore failed for the eighth time in a row before Q3, which did not had never happened in his career, with the same old story about tires, lack of grip …
"I struggled to align the towers, commented the future Aston Martin pilot. During free practice, I was happy with the 'medium' but in qualifying I had too many problems, probably because of the difficulty in warming the tires. "
All that doesn't bode well for a good Sunday, he knows that. "The traffic on this circuit is probably going to be a big problem. However, the situation is going to be similar to recent races. And unfortunately there is not much we can change about the car.", concluded the quadruple world champion.
Regarding the new pieces, Laurent Mekies clarified that it was "nothing huge but enough to be in the close battle for places behind the top 3." "It's important to show that our development is going in the right direction, for the end of the season and even more so the next one", insisted the sports director of the Reds. It was because he had said word for word on the evening of qualifying at the Nürburgring, before the fiasco suffered by the Monegasque in the race. But there, the basic data of the race in Portugal are diametrically opposed. It might even rain on Sunday.
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