Following two dismal qualifying sessions at the opening two grands prix at the Red Bull Ring, Ferrari’s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel delivered a masterful performance
Ferrari introduced a significant upgrade package at last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, giving debut to a new front wing and a modified floor. With the qualifying session taking place in wet conditions and the race ending just after two corners for both Ferrari drivers due to a tangle at Turn 3, the Scuderia was unable to assess the step it has made with the new parts.
However, today’s qualifying session indicated that the new parts have indeed lifted the competitiveness of the SF1000 slightly, albeit the gap to the dominant and field-leading Mercedes was over a second.
"I think it is a better weekend for us, as we already saw yesterday during free practice. But there is still a lot of work ahead for both of us. Starting on the Softs, we will be on a different tyre strategy to the four cars ahead of us, and so we will see how that evolves, as we may have an advantage on the run to turn one and then for the first couple of laps.
The 33-year-old thinks that his team has no chance against Mercedes and Racing Point, the two teams that locked out the first two rows on the grid.
"The forecast says it might rain in the race and although we struggled a bit in the wet yesterday, it might actually give us a bit more of a chance tomorrow, although the two teams ahead of us seem to be on a different planet!"
Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc revealed that he did not feel absolutely comfortable in his car during the first part of the qualifying session, but things improved for the all-important Q3.
"Third row with both cars is quite good for the team, especially as we are quite close to the second row. I am actually pretty happy. We made a step forward, which is nice to see. It wasn’t an easy session from my side, I was struggling a bit with my driving in Q1 and Q2 so I was not totally happy with the job I was doing, but it got better in Q3 and P6 is a good place to start.
As the weather forecast predicts rain both for late morning and the afternoon on Sunday, drivers and teams have to prepare themselves for a tricky Hungarian Grand Prix. The Monegasque believed that the SF1000’s race pace is slightly better than it one-lap performance, therefore he would prefer dry weather.
„I believe our race pace is stronger than our quali pace so with a good strategy we can take advantage of that and gain some positions. There’s everything to play for tomorrow. With regards to tomorrow’s weather, we have been quite good on a dry track so far and with rain we also have the pace, but it’s always a bit unpredictable so if anything, I would go for the dry."