Tonight’s really thrilling qualifying session at the Jeddah Corniche track had its ups and downs for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, as can clearly be seen from the result. On the one hand, Charles Leclerc delivered an excellent fourth place, but on the other, there was disappointment for Carlos Sainz who will have to start from 15th on the grid.
The Spaniard paid a high price for a spin on his first run in Q2. A slight touch at the rear with the barriers was enough to significantly damage the right rear end plate. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to replace it in the session and once back on track, Carlos immediately realised that the loss of aero downforce was too great, thus badly affecting car performance.
Charles managed to make the cut to Q3 on the Mediums and on his final run he pulled something special out of the bag, producing a magical lap to claim the fourth fastest time. It is hard to predict what could happen in tomorrow’s race, partly because this track has never been used before and partly because its layout means that the slightest error must be avoided at all costs as it can prove decisive, as we have already seen this weekend. The Grand Prix starts at 20.30 local (18.30 CET).
‘I am very happy with my qualifying. Today was all about regaining confidence on this track and I worked on this from my first lap in FP3 to that last lap in qualifying. I really took it to the limit and P4 is a very good result, one that we did not expect.
‘Tomorrow will be a tough but exciting race. Despite it being a street circuit, the three long straights make it possible to overtake more than we had anticipated. Our race pace has been strong all weekend, so we should have a good opportunity if we have a clean race.
‘A big thank you to everyone on our team for the incredible job they did last night to put the car back together in perfect shape. I will give it my all to bring home a good result for them.‘
‘Today’s qualifying is a tough one to digest. I’ve been fast and comfortable with the car all weekend and a single snap jeopardised the entire qualifying and tomorrow’s race. Q1 was very promising and I knew from previous sessions I was also fast with the Medium compound. However, a very aggressive snap of oversteer in turn 10 made me lose the car and, although I managed to avoid a big crash, I clipped the wall and damaged the rear wing. It was unexpected, because I hadn’t experienced that snap in any other run since Friday.
‘There was no time to replace the damaged endplate and the guys did their best to fix it before going out again. I was quite fast in the first part of the lap but as soon as I put some load on the rear wing in a more difficult corner I realized the downforce was very compromised and I had to abort. The race tomorrow is uncertain and anything can happen. I have confidence in my pace and will give it my all to make up some positions and try to score some good points.‘
Laurent Mekies, Racing Director
‘Mixed emotions after qualifying. We are pleased with Charles’ great fourth place. Today he progressively regained confidence in the car after yesterday’s crash and right on his last run, he once again demonstrated that he is one of the best drivers on the grid, with a fantastic lap.
‘It’s a real shame that Carlos was unable to secure the result that he had shown he was clearly capable of throughout the weekend, including the first part of qualifying. That small mistake at turn 10 cost him dear and tomorrow he will be up against it.
‘For the race, first and foremost, we will prepare as well as possible to try and extend still further our lead in the fight for third place in the Constructors’ classification, which is our main aim in this final part of the season. On such an unforgiving track, we can expect the unexpected and so it will be important to make the most of any opportunity that comes our way.‘