A resurgent Ferrari celebrated a surprise pole position from Charles Leclerc by leaving Baku having moved into third place in the 2021 Constructor’s Championship thanks to a fine fourth-place finish from Charles Leclerc.
While yesterday’s qualifying result far exceeded the team’s expectations going into the race weekend, the outcome of the race, which as usual here was action-packed from start to finish, with Leclerc finishing fourth and Carlos Sainz eighth, is somewhat disappointing.
In Friday’s free practice it was evident the two teams fighting for the championship had a clearly quicker pace, but given the opportunities that the race could throw up, it seemed it might be a great chance to make the most of the advantage the Scuderia had secured over them on Saturday.
The team leaves Azerbaijan having proved to be very competitive in qualifying and with the satisfaction of moving up one place in the Constructors’ classification into third. However, the gap to those now behind is very small and definitely does not reflect the level of competitiveness of the team seen in the past two races.
Charles Leclerc Fights For Podium
Charles Leclerc was so close to converting his pole position into a podium, narrowly missing out on the final lap to Pierre Gasly of Scuderia Alpha Tauri.
“Before arriving in Baku, P4 was more or less where we could expect to finish the race. The first surprise of the weekend was our pole position. A second surprise was that some of our competitors in the midfield were extremely quick today. Despite starting at the front, we knew we could well be overtaken by the cars of the two front running teams, which is what happened. After the first stop, I tried to do the best job possible. I had a lockup after the restart following the first safety car. Continuing with two flat spots was the most difficult part of the race. I really thought I wouldn’t make it to the end. Then we had the red flag, and I thought about the podium. But unfortunately, we didn’t’ make it. Seb did an incredible job – congratulations to him. The same goes for Pierre, it was a hard fight with him at the end! We will keep working and pushing in the right direction,” said Leclerc.
Recovery Drive From Carlos Sainz
After going off the track and into the run-off area early on, it was all about recovering and picking up as many points as possible for Carlos Sainz, who did his job with aplomb to secure a fine eighth place finish.
“Not the race I was hoping for today. I didn’t have the same feeling with the car that I had had all weekend. Every time I was on cold tyres – at both starts, at the restart and after the pit stop – I struggled a lot with front locking and with the brakes. That led to a costly mistake which compromised my whole race. In the end, I managed to get back in the points but I’m not happy with the result. We need to understand the reasons behind those issues and try to improve for the upcoming races. We’ve got some time now to go to Maranello and work on it, so I’m sure we’ll come back stronger in France,” added Sainz.