Ferrari’s report from qualifying for the French Grand Prix, Round 8 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet.
Le Castellet, 22 June 2019 – Scuderia Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel will start the 60th French Grand Prix from the third and seventh places on the grid respectively. The race gets underway at the Le Castellet circuit at 15.10 CET tomorrow.
Q1. Both drivers made the cut to Q2 without any problems, running the Soft tyres. Charles did a 1’31”441 on his first run, improving to 1’30”647. Sebastian’s first flying lap produced a 1’31”846 and he improved to 1’31”075
Q2. The Scuderia Ferrari duo then let the tyres cool down before setting off again to post laps of 1’29”934 and 1’30”128 respectively. At this point, getting to Q3 was not a foregone conclusion, so to make sure and to allow the drivers to start the race on less worn tyres, both SF90s were sent back out on track with new Medium tyres. Sebastian posted a 1’29”506 and Charles did a 1’29”699.
Q3. In the final top ten shoot-out, Charles and Sebastian once again ran the Softs, but while the Monegasque driver did a 1’29”015, the German lost time and decided to abort his run, pitting for fresh tyres. Leclerc did a second run on new Softs, getting down to 1’28”965 to secure third spot on the grid, behind pole man Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. On his only attempt at taking pole position, Sebastian did a 1’29”799, which puts him in seventh place.
Charles Leclerc: “It has been a good weekend so far and I have felt comfortable in the car since FP1. For the past few weeks, my main target has been improving the car set up in order to suit the track evolution from Q1 to Q3. From this point of view, I am satisfied with my personal performance and have definitely made a step forward.
“On the other hand, we are not where we should be, relative to our competitors in terms of lap times. We have a lot of work to do and I will push to have a good start in order to challenge them during the race tomorrow.”
Sebastian Vettel: “It was a bit of a funny session, as I didn’t get a consistent feel for the car and didn’t extract the maximum out of it, so I can’t be happy with that. On the last lap I just didn’t have the same feeling as during other parts of the session and that’s why we didn’t qualify where we should be. The car was better than where we ended up.
“On the other hand, I am looking forward to tomorrow. It will be difficult to manage the tyres, but in the race, usually things settle down so it’s much more straightforward and should be more consistent, so let’s see what tomorrow brings.”
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal: “We knew before coming here that this weekend would be more difficult than usual for us. Nevertheless, I think that compared to the Spanish Grand Prix, we have made a small step in the right direction, which is what we were looking to do.
“Sebastian was not happy with his tyres in Q3. However, tomorrow’s race will be long, as are the straights, so there should be plenty of opportunities to move up the order.”