Charles Leclerc says that Ferrari’s failure to exit Q2 was not entirely unexpected given the team’s aim to make the top-ten shootout on the medium compound tyre.
Leclerc qualified P12 for the Austrian Grand Prix, just one spot behind teammate Carlos Sainz who missed the Q3 cut by a very small margin.
But the Monegasque was only half surprised by the session’s outcome although he admitted to being startled by the qualifying performance of George Russell accessed Q3 for the first time with Williams.
“It was kind of the plan to not go to Q3 to be honest, because we wanted to have a free choice for tomorrow,” said Leclerc. “But on the other hand I’m a bit disappointed.
“Obviously, the best would have been to go to Q3 with the medium, which Williams managed to do with George, which is very impressive. And that’s what’s left me a bit disappointed today. To be behind them on the medium is not great.”
Leclerc remained bullish however on his chances of scoring some decent points in Sunday’s race given his SF21’s pace in race trim.
“It’s definitely looking good for tomorrow, but we’ll have to analyse exactly what strategy it is better to take considering that there are actually quite a bit of cars in front of us that will be starting on the medium.”
2021 Austrian Grand Prix – Qualifying results
Sainz was unhappy to miss Q3 by 0.006s, but the Spaniard preferred to focus on the steady progress he’s making on his side of the garage, week after week.
“You always expose yourself to this kind of scenario where obviously you don’t make it through,” he said, alluding to Ferrari’s decision to attempt to qualify for Q3 on the medium tyre.
“But I have to honest, from my side I made a lot of progress compared to last week. I was on it the whole qualie and by six thousandths I’m not super happy.
“It’s a shame, but we have good race pace and the points are given tomorrow so let’s wait and see for tomorrow.