Ferrari trio had to be content finishing behind three teams in F1 Saudi Arabian GP despite promises of a better show in Bahrain.
After the drubbing in Bahrain, Ferrari were more than optimistic about the chance in F1 Saudi Arabian GP considering the track surface and type of circuit. They did not start well at all on Friday but seemed closer in qualifying in some ways.
Of course, Max Verstappen was knocked out in Q2 which hid the pace a bit but Charles Leclerc was close to Sergio Perez’s time. The Monegasque had the penalty to deal with, as Carlos Sainz did a decent job but was behind Fernando Alonso and George Russell.
The race didn’t prove to be a huge success either as Leclerc’s soft start on his Ferrari SF-23 did provide some joy after he was able to climb up the order but he got stuck behind teammate Sainz which was it as they just did not have any pace on the hard tyres.
They were not only beaten by Red Bull but also Aston Martin and Mercedes, where the latter’s Lewis Hamilton got a jump being on different strategy and the safety car coming to his aide. All of Leclerc’s pace on hard vanished and he was seventh behind Sainz.
Sainz: “I think going into the race we expected better race pace; I think looking at the race pace on Friday, we thought we could be on the pace of the Aston Martin and the Mercedes. It’s difficult to take positives when you are P6 and P7, especially the last stint when you are all fair and square in pace… and they all pulled away. So it’s difficult to take a positive. At least we got the reliability and the double points, but this is not where we want to be right now. Post-race, obviously it looks like we still have some work to do – especially race pace towards the second half of the stints, we just wear our tyres a bit too much, we cannot keep the pace of the front-runners. We need to keep the heads down: we know the car at the moment is not where we want it to be, and we need to start improving it as the season goes on.”
Leclerc: “It was a good first stint after a good start, a really good management on the soft and it was positive. On the hard, I mean I got within a second on a lap in the DRS but then unfortunately I lost the DRS and from that moment onward, you are losing too much downforce when you are behind by one second or one and a half and I was just staying there for rest of the race. Honestly, I don’t think was much more anyway in the car. That was the best we could do.”
Vasseur: “I will be able to give you a much better picture later but the gap in Saudi Arabia looks huge, at least in the race on the second stint because the first stint was difficult for us to know as we were never in a position to push. In the second stint we were in a position to push and the gap was huge because I think in 30 laps they gave us something like 25 seconds so you can do the calculation.”
Here’s how F1 Saudi Arabian GP panned out