Ferrari feels there was more to grab in qualifying

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Russia, Sochi International Street Circuitru

Scuderia Ferrari thinks that it could have achieved better results in the qualifying session for tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix given the pace its upgraded SF1000 has shown over the weekend.

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebasitan Vettel qualified 11th and 16th respectively for tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix. That result represents a complete turnaround in form compared to 12 months ago when the Scuderia secured a front row lock-out with the Monegasque and the German.

However, considering the dismal performance of the Italians’ 2020 F1 car, the SF1000, the results are less surprising. Still, Ferrari thinks that it could have fought for more in the qualifying session with the car that features a heavily-upgraded rear wing.

Leclerc was unable to improve his time after the red-flag period that was triggered by the heavy crash of his teammate Vettel at Turn 4. The Monegasque admitted that there was miscommunication between him and the team as he thought that he needed to be in a rush not to miss his final chance before the session was over.

“We definitely had the pace to do something good, much better than expected. Unfortunately, we missed our chance, so I’m pretty disappointed, but that’s life.

„It is frustrating that we didn’t make it to Q3 because I really believe that we had the potential to go through today. From the radio communications, I thought I had no margin to cross the line to start the fast lap so I pushed on the out lap and started my quick lap very close to Kvyat. There was actually a bit more time available, but we didn’t exploit that, so we need to improve in that area.”

Vettel accepted the blame for the crash, admitting that he was pushing too hard on his final flying lap to improve in the first sector that had proved tricky for his car over the weekend.

"When I crashed I was trying to improve my time. I hadn’t had a good first sector so I was pushing. It seems that I was going too quickly and so I lost the car. It had already happened in turn 2 and then it happened again in turn 4. I tried to avoid the impact, but I couldn’t catch it. Compared to the morning session, the track was quite different during qualifying and I struggled a bit more. I’m sorry to have made extra work for the team, but at least I think the car can be fixed."

Ferrari’s Sporting Director Laurent Mekies was happy to see Vettel emerge unscathed following his heavy shunt in Q2, but admitted that the „barrier did considerable damage to the car, which will require a lot of work by the mechanics to repair it.”

The Frenchman agrees with Leclerc, claiming that there was more potential to unlock from the car in today’s qualifying session.

„Charles should have been able to get into Q3 but he had a very hectic time in the final part of Q2. In a strange situation like this, it’s difficult for all the drivers to get a clean lap and in fact, only four of them managed to improve their time in the final two minutes. Charles managed to start his lap in time, but unfortunately there was not enough of a gap to the car in front and he was unable to improve. For our part, in future, we will try and do a better job of evaluating the available time gap.”