There were mixed emotions from the two Ferrari drivers after qualifying for the British Grand Prix ended with Charles Leclerc in fourth place and Sebastian Vettel 10th.
Leclerc managed to make it through to Q3 on the medium-compound tire to open up strategic options in Sunday’s race, and then duly qualified fourth on the grid alongside Max Verstappen and behind the two Mercedes drivers. After securing his best qualifying position of the season, Leclerc says it was a shock to be so competitive against the likes of Red Bull and Racing Point on Saturday.
“It’s a great qualifying today,” Leclerc said. “I’m very, very happy with the job we’ve all done. I definitely did not expect to get P4 today, so it’s great. I’m also very happy we’ve gone through to Q3 with the medium tires.
“A little bit (worried about race pace), but we changed the car a little bit from yesterday — I don’t think it affected it much for qualifying, looking at the result, but hopefully that will improve the race pace.”
In contrast, teammate Vettel needed to use the soft compound to advance to Q3 after a disjointed weekend that saw him miss FP1 due to an intercooler issue and then suffer brake pedal delays in the other two practice sessions.
“Obviously not ideal for myself, not a good session,” Vettel said. “I struggled to make the car work. We made it to Q3 but with the wrong tire, and then we didn’t make enough progress in Q3, so not a good day. We have to start with the soft, which is probably not good news, but we try to make it work and go from there.”
Vettel believes the lack of track time has hampered his confidence in the car, costing him positions in what is a close fight behind Mercedes.
“I struggled to find the rhythm,” he admitted. “The car was not too bad, but it didn’t fit me today. Struggling yesterday with very little laps, and this morning to get into the rhythm. Nevertheless, I’ll try everything I can tomorrow — we’ll see what we could get.”