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1 - GP AUSTRALIA F1/2023 - GIOVEDI’ 30/03/2023

Ferrari, Ferrari where art thou? Are the Reds in Melbourne?

Ferrari, Ferrari where art thy? Are the Reds in Melbourne? GP AUSTRALIA F1/2023 - GIOVEDI’ 30/03/2023

Ferrari headlined their 2023 Australian Grand Prix qualifying report: “A less than perfect afternoon” and indeed it was, as Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc will line up on the grid in fifth and seventh respectively as again the legendary Scuderia were found wanting when it mattered.

In the end, blaming traffic, as they do below cannot disguise the fact that in qualy mode Ferrari were fourth in the pecking order today, a tad behind the Aston Martins, chasing the resurgent Mercedes’ and over half a second down on the pace-setting RBRs.

Last season, at the same race in Melbourne, Leclerc was on pole by 0.286s, over Max Verstappen; a year later the #1 Red Bull annexed pole position on Saturday while the #16 Ferrari was only good for the fourth row, 0.637s shy of the hottest lap on Saturday.

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Ferrari reported after an almost anonymous qualifying session on Saturday: “It was a frustrating Albert Park qualifying session for the team as it was unable to secure the result that should have been within its grasp.”

Sainz added: “We had decent pace in qualifying. Unfortunately, there was a bit of confusion during the last preparation lap with other cars and that cost us a couple of tenths in Turn 1, as I arrived at it with the tyres a bit too cold.

“We have worked on different setup configurations during the weekend, and we’ll see what we can do during the race. It won’t be an easy one, but we will try to move up from our grid positions and bring home a good result!” insisted Sainz.

Vasseur: Points are awarded on Sunday, it can be an unpredictable race

Leclerc, who starts directly behind his teammate on the grid, summed up his day: “It hasn’t been the best of qualifyings. I was confident that I could put it all together on our last lap in Q3, but things did not go as planned as I didn’t do the prep lap and we lost time.

“We will make sure we improve this as a team for the future. We tried different configurations of set-up and worked on our race pace, so I look forward to fighting for some positions,” ventured Leclerc.

Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur, chimed in from a management perspective: “Qualifying was very close and unfortunately, things did not go to plan for us. In Q3, we were on the limit in terms of time at the end of the session so we didn’t do a preparation lap with Charles.

“Carlos didn’t manage to put a lap together, losing a few tenths in the first corner on what would have been his best lap, otherwise he could have been second or third.

“However, the points are given out [in the race] and, since Jeddah, we have worked on getting consistent and strong performance from the SF-23 in race trim. Now we will prepare for the race as well as possible with the intention of moving up the order. Overtaking is not easy here, but it can be an unpredictable race,” predicted Vasseur.

History shows that Ferrari have won the Australian Grand Prix ten times, their latest victory in Melbourne was last, last year when Leclerc triumphed from pole; their first win Down Under was in 1987 (the third running of the race in Adelaide) when Gerhard Berger won, from the top spot on the grid.