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Mexican GP: Qualifying team notes - Ferrari

NEWS STORY
06/11/2021

Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow claimed a sixth and an eighth place in qualifying at the Mexico City Grand Prix courtesy of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc respectively. A reasonable result that did not live up to expectations the team had going into the start of the weekend, given that the aim was to be right behind the two teams fighting for the championship titles.

During the final part of the session, some factors certainly did not work out in favour of the two Ferrari drivers. Some drivers were able to count on help from a team-mate who would not be starting in the top ten because of penalties and this played a significant role in determining the final outcome as did traffic. This was particularly the case for Charles, thus preventing the team from making the most of its potential.

Tomorrow's race, which starts at 13 local (20 CET) will be hard to call and reliability will be a key factor. It will be important to do everything perfectly and minimise errors on what is a very tricky track, as could be seen these past two days. The Scuderia's goal is very clearly to come away with as many points as possible, trying to close the gap in the fight for third place in the Constructors' classification.

Carlos Sainz: This was one of the most eventful and stressful qualifying sessions of my career. After the engine starting procedure issue, the red flag and the traffic, in the end, the result wasn't too bad, but I've been fast all weekend and wanted more. With so many things going on I wasn't able to get into the right rhythm and didn't get a clean lap until the last attempt in Q3. The lap was not even a perfect one, but given how the session unfolded I cannot be too disappointed, although I would have preferred to have the same feeling with the car as in free practice.

The race will be challenging as with thin air you have to manage tyres and temperatures, but it will be the same for everybody. The start will be very important. The dirty side is especially tricky here in Mexico but we'll try our best to maximize our starting position. We'll go for it and try to score good points!

Charles Leclerc: I'm quite disappointed. It has been a difficult weekend all along, but good progress from the practice sessions to qualifying. I put everything together today. I was strong in Q1, Q2 and the first run of Q3. Unfortunately I made a mistake on the second run in Q3 and finished the session without improving my lap. I know that I had the potential to do better, but such is life. Tomorrow is what counts and I will give it everything.

Our race pace is looking good, but it will be very difficult to overtake here. Reliability will play an important role, because of the unique conditions at this track, but this will be the same for everyone.

Laurent Mekies, Racing Director: There's no point denying we were expecting to do better. We felt we had the potential to be third in the pecking order behind the two title contender teams and from what we could see up to Q2 this afternoon, it seemed achievable. But for various reasons, things did not go our way in the final part of the session, although we must admit Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri was quicker than us, even without the tow he got from his team-mate. This also made the difference with regards to Daniel Ricciardo, our main rival in the fight for third. Despite this, we could have got both our drivers ahead of him, but Charles didn't get the cleanest of laps on his final run, partly because of traffic and ended up behind him by just a few hundredths.

Therefore, we cannot be happy with how today turned out, but it's Sunday that counts, when the points are given out. We know it will be a very tough race on a track where it's easy to make a mistake. Another unknown could be reliability given the thin air encountered here in Mexico City. Getting the strategy right will also be important.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Mexico City, here.

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