Scuderia Ferrari put up a satisfactory qualifying performance for tomorrow’s French Grand Prix. Carlos will start from fifth place and Charles from seventh. While the result might not get the fans excited, on a track that does not particularly suit the SF21, it confirmed that, once again, the Maranello team is the best of the midfield runners, at least on Saturdays, fighting behind the two teams that head the classification.
One of the key moments of qualifying at Paul Ricard was Q2, in which Carlos and Charles managed to make the cut running the Medium compound, so that they can start the race on these tyres, on level terms strategy-wise therefore with the others in the top five rows of the grid.
The 61st French GP to count for the Formula 1 World Championship starts tomorrow at 15 CET. Hot and windy conditions are expected once again, but there is a chance of a storm in the vicinity that could mix things up and produce some opportunities to be exploited.
Carlos Sainz: Not a bad day for the team. After a couple of eventful Saturdays, it’s good to have a clean quali like today. We managed to extract everything out of the car and show the progress we have made at this type of track. From my side, I continue to adapt and learn from the different conditions and corners, and today I felt at home with the car no matter what compound I was on.
We are in a good position for the race tomorrow and we’ll try to maximize every opportunity. Yesterday our race pace was not bad, but I expect a tight battle with our main competitors. A clean first lap and a good strategy will be essential to leave France with a good result.
Charles Leclerc: A tricky qualifying from my side. I didn’t do a good job of driving around the balance limitation of my car, which was on the front for me today. I will work to understand how I can adapt my driving style and manage this better in the race, although I think that we will feel it less tomorrow.
Overall, 5th and 7th place are good results for the team and in line with our expectations. Congratulations to everyone and to Carlos who did a good job today. The race pace wasn’t too bad yesterday. There is definitely potential to fight for good positions in the race, and it will come down to us putting it all together.
Laurent Mekies: All in all, it was a satisfactory qualifying. We came here knowing that the hierarchy would be different to that seen at the two unusual tracks in Monaco and Baku and that the characteristics of the Paul Ricard circuit would not be ideally suited to our SF21. But once again, we were able to demonstrate that we are the best of those teams directly behind the two that are fighting for the championship. Furthermore, as in the three previous qualifying sessions, we got both our cars ahead of our direct rivals.
Carlos is having a great weekend, showing that he is making progress, and his qualifying performance was really good. Charles couldn’t get the right feel for his car, especially the front end, but on his final run, he still managed to get close to the third row that could have been within his reach.
Tomorrow’s race will be long and difficult, with tyre behaviour playing a crucial role. On this front, the top ten are all starting on the same compound so we will be fighting on equal terms. We know our race pace is not as good as we would like at the moment, but we will prepare well tonight and tomorrow and will continue to do so over the coming weeks, in order to give our drivers an ever more competitive package.