Charles Leclerc expressed hope that Ferrari’s Q3 tyre strategy will pay dividends in Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix but conceded Red Bull is likely to have strong pace.
Leclerc was in the mix for pole position on Saturday but completed only one Q3 lap, leaving him a provisional second, before being shuffled down to third by Sergio Perez.
Ferrari adopted the atypical strategy in order to give Leclerc an extra set of fresh tyres for Sunday’s race, with the SF-23 mooted to be struggling with degradation over a longer stint.
“We found a lot of performance in qualifying,” said Leclerc. “We were in the fight, which is something that I probably did not expect. So, it’s a good surprise.
“To tell you where we found the performance, I’m not really sure, so we need to look into that. Because as much as we need to understand the bad days, I think we also need to understand the good days. That’s how we will improve but good that it’s like that.
“But we also need to be realistic. I mean, those guys [Red Bull], and also Aston Martin, seems to be really, really quick in the race.
“That is why I think, we made that choice in Q3 to be willing to lose one or two positions at the start, but having new tyres to put all the chances on our side, which I’m sure is the right choice. But let’s see.”
Carlos Sainz will join his Ferrari team-mate on the second row of the grid and conveyed similar sentiments over expected race performance.
“I think Red Bull will be very strong,” he said. “If in qualifying they are one step, in race pace, it looks like they’re one and a half steps. We will see.
“We’ll try everything we can to challenge them, you need to race them, there can always be safety cars and things going on that are different, that’s why I’m still open-minded.”
Leave a Reply