Impressive Qualifying Performance From Ferrari Duo

2021 Dutch Grand Prix, Saturday - Charles Leclerc (image courtesy Scuderia Ferrari Press Office)

Scuderia Ferrari delivered a good team result in qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix, at the end of a day that was far from easy. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will start alongside one another on the third row, the team having to work very hard for this result, given that after having completed just five laps in this morning’s third free practice session, Carlos ended up in the barriers, damaging his SF21.

The car was only brought back to the garage twenty minutes after the end of the session and the mechanics immediately set about making repairs, succeeding in getting the Spaniard back out on track with just over 10 minutes of Q1 remaining. Sainz was immediately able to run at the same pace as his team-mate and both he and Leclerc made it through to the final part.

In the session to decide the top ten, Charles was unable to match the 1’09”4 he did in Q2 and had to settle for fifth place with a 1’09”527, although the potential had been there to line up the SF21 on the second row. Carlos was sixth fastest in 1’09”537, ensuring that both of them would start ahead of their closest championship rivals. Behind them came the Scuderia’s official reserve driver, Antonio Giovinazzi. In his Ferrari-powered Alfa Romeo Racing, he qualified seventh, his best showing of the season and a great result for the Italian.

The 72 lap Grand Prix gets underway at 3pm when the start will be a key moment, given that overtaking is, to say the least, difficult. At the same time, it will be important to manage the tyres and any unpredictable situations that might arise on such an interesting and tricky track as Zandvoort.

2021 Dutch Grand Prix, Saturday - Charles Leclerc (image courtesy Scuderia Ferrari Press Office)
2021 Dutch Grand Prix, Saturday – Charles Leclerc (image courtesy Scuderia Ferrari Press Office)

Charles Leclerc

‘It’s a shame to have missed out on fourth place today, but in the end, a fifth and sixth on the grid is a solid Saturday for us. We were probably a bit too aggressive on the front wing set-up on the last run and I lost the rear in the middle sector. For the race, tyre degradation is still something of a question mark. We didn’t do a lot of long-run simulations in free practice, so we will manage that the best we can tomorrow. The most important thing will be to have a good start because overtaking will be difficult here.’

Carlos Sainz

‘It was one of the most challenging qualifying sessions of the season and for sure the most stressful! I can only say a massive thank you to the mechanics. After the incident in FP3, the car only came back to the garage over 20 minutes after the session, so it was extremely tight on timing to check it and fix everything, and again the entire team did an incredible job. Watching them all over the car was impressive! After all that tension, once I knew we were going out, I really focused on resetting my mind and trying to build up my pace lap after lap. We managed to recover well and had a good quali in a tricky and very tight session. I think overtaking will not be easy tomorrow, but we have a good opportunity to bring home good points from our starting position.’

Laurent Mekies, Racing Director

‘First of all, I want to congratulate our mechanics for managing to repair Carlos’ car in time for him to take part in qualifying. It was by no means a given and they really did a great job. Having both drivers on the third row is a good team result. Going into this race, we had said we wanted to get back to fighting for these places in qualifying and we have achieved our first objective of the weekend. Carlos did very well to immediately get a feel for the car after he had gone off the track. It was a shame Charles didn’t manage to get the place on the second row that was within his grasp, especially when you look at the fantastic lap he did in Q2. But it means he can do it again tomorrow!
Now we are focussing on the race, which will be very tough. On a track where overtaking is complicated, the start will be even more crucial than usual. Furthermore, we will have to do a good job of making the most of any opportunity that comes our way on a track that does not forgive the slightest mistake.’

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