‘We just weren’t quick enough’ – Ferrari drivers bemoan lack of speed after another lacklustre qualifying
Ferrari’s heavily-updated car failed to improve the Italian team’s fortunes in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix as both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc lamented the SF1000’s lack of performance.
Ferrari brought forward their big update package by a race, in a bid to reverse their fortunes after a tame opening Grand Prix, where despite Leclerc taking a fortuitous second, their car lacked overall speed.
On Saturday, Leclerc failed to make Q3 for only the second time in his Ferrari career, as he crossed the line 11th quickest in wet conditions, meaning Ferrari only had one car in Q3 for the second successive race – the last time that happened was Canada-Austria 2015.
“We worked quite a bit on the balance,” said Leclerc. “I had quite a lack of front, but we worked on it, I think it got better. I don’t think the balance was a big issue towards the end, we were just not quick enough. When I see the gap, I’m quite surprised. So there’s some work to do.
“In the dry, the car is very nice to drive in terms of balance, we are just not quick enough. In the wet, it’s very similar. The balance - yes we have some problems here and there which we need to solve, but at the end of the day we are just not quick enough. I think we’re 1.8s off.
“There’s not this [amount of time] in the balance, so we need to work. I also need to work on my driving, and hopefully we’ll be getting better in these conditions.”
Vettel made it into Q3 for the first time this year, and while he enjoyed qualifying, he wasn’t able to translate that into performance and ended up 10th quickest.
“It was good fun,” said Vettel. “Unfortunately we didn’t have the speed, we had a lot of aquaplaning in the car, struggled to get the tyres to work, in particular the front, so it wasn’t easy to judge.
“We had a lot of front locking, a lot of aquaplaning down the straight. In the last lap, I tried to do a bit more and risk everything and it didn’t work, I lost the car in [Turn] 8. Still, I had to try, but not great obviously.”
It may be a tough afternoon on Sunday for Ferrari, but at least they can be buoyed by Vettel's comments that the car felt better on high fuel after Friday practice.