Ferrari hit the nail on the head with their headline “teamwork delivers a good result” to sum up qualifying for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, as Charles Leclerc will start the race from third on the grid with a big thanks to teammate Carlos Sainz who will start from the back.
It was good to watch as Sainz, in qualy for no reason other than to turn laps and helps his teammate, provided a great slipstream opportunity for his teammate’s final run in Q2. It worked a treat as Leclerc squeezed into Q3, and may not have, without the tow.
He went better to finish fourth in the final session, and will start third due to Lewis Hamilton – who was fastest in qualifying – having a ten-place grid drop penalty for an engine change ahead of tomorrow’s race at Istanbul Park.
Leclerc was quick to credit Sainz in the team report: “It was great to see Carlos being there and giving me the slipstream on the final straight in Q2. It was good teamwork and helped us make it to Q3.
“I am happy with my final lap in the last session and look forward to the race. If the conditions are dry, I am confident that we have good potential.
“I am happy with my qualifying. P4 is a good result for the team, finishing just behind the championship leaders who, at the moment, are still tough for us to beat. We definitely maximised our car’s potential today.
“Q1 and Q2 were tricky for me, as I opted for a lower downforce set-up this weekend which is the right choice for the race and hopefully should pay off tomorrow. But in today’s wet conditions, I slid around quite a bit and had to fight for it,” added Leclerc.
Sainz has been on his own program all weekend, knowing that whatever he threw at qualifying would be nulled by his start from the back of the grid. Expect the Spaniard to have a handy race package; and a plan.
He said of his Saturday in the Ferrari qualy report: “It was a pity we were not trying for a fastest time, especially seeing the performance of the car in dry conditions. It is difficult to take, but looking at the big picture it is better to take the penalty now and have a better engine for the remainder of the season.
“Our plan was executed perfectly today. In Q1 we took calculated risks to make it comfortably into Q2, bumping one car out which turned out to be a McLaren. Then in Q2 I stayed in the garage and went out on a perfectly timed strategy to help Charles with a bit of a slipstream on his Mediums.
“For tomorrow, it all depends on how the car feels in traffic and how we can go through the field without damaging the tyres too much. The pace has been encouraging all weekend so we are ready to fight our way up the order as much as possible. Bring it on!” declared Sainz.
Laurent Mekies, Ferrari Racing Director added in the report: “It was a hectic and closely fought qualifying session and the result shows we did a good job of preparing for this Grand Prix.
“It wasn’t easy managing all the variables today, starting with the weather and the choices to be made in terms of levels of aero downforce, especially for Charles. He did a great job, keeping calm even when the situation looked complicated and then he pulled it out of the bag in the end with a wonderful lap.
“Carlos showed great team spirit, yesterday getting on with a different but useful programme which we hope will pay off tomorrow and today he also played his part when the need arose.
“We are well aware the points are given out tomorrow and that tyre management will be very difficult in the race, but we will do our best as always,” predicted Mekies.
Ferrari lie fourth in the championship ahead of Round 16 of the 2021 F1 World Championship on Sunday, 17.5 adrift of closest rivals McLaren, but a massive 181 down on leaders Mercedes.
Loads of spins, a few shocks and a thrilling battle between the top three 🍿
Watch all the best bits from Saturday’s qualifying session in Istanbul 🎬#TurkishGP 🇹🇷 #F1