A Saturday to forget for Scuderia Ferrari in terms of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Charles Leclerc was 13th while Sebastian Vettel did not make the cut out of Q1 because of traffic and ended up 17th.
All the drivers ran the Soft tyre in the first part of qualifying. Seb posted a 1:21.151 and Charles did a 1:20.970, this time being cancelled by the Stewards for exceeding track limits at the Parabolica. He therefore had to pit for new tyres and quickly went back out to put in a safe lap. He managed a 1:20.607, good enough to go through, but things were more complicated for Sebastian, down in 17th place. In the closing minutes, everyone went back out for a final run. Unfortunately, just as happened last year at Monza, everyone was looking for a tow and this turned into a bottleneck which meant it was impossible to go quicker. Seb therefore did not improve, out of Q2 by just 47 thousandths.
Charles went out almost immediately in this session, posting a time of 1:20.747 on used Softs. He then pitted to wait for the track to rubber in some more and then set off in the hope of getting a tow with a few minutes to go and tucked in behind Carlos Sainz in the McLaren. He managed to improve to 1:20.273 but that was not enough to make the cut to Q3 and he had to settle for 13th place.
Charles Leclerc: "Coming into the weekend we expected it to be like this. We knew that Spa and here are probably the two worst tracks for us but this is our situation at the moment. It's tough, because once you do a good lap and you end up P13 it doesn't feel good. But for now I need to try and extract the maximum out of the car in the situation we are in.
"Of course, it hurts even more as this is our home race, but it's the reality for us at present, unfortunately. We need to work and hopefully Mugello, which is still home soil for Ferrari, will be a bit better than here. Last weekend and here, we have been trying many things on the car, but we are not finding a solution. So we need to keep our head down, stay motivated, and I'm sure better days will come."
Sebastian Vettel: "There's not much to say about this session. There were a lot of cars in front of me when I started my second quick lap. In that moment I knew it wouldn't be possible to improve my time. I don't know why the other drivers started to overtake on the warm up lap. I found myself in the middle of the mess and didn't get a lap. Everybody should stay in the position they are in the line, then everybody opens a gap and it should be fine to set a time.
"From our side, probably we didn't pick the right time to get back on track and some others managed to do better than us, as they improved. Of course starting from so far back on the grid means it will not be an easy race, but you never know what can happen and we will see what we can do."
Laurent Mekies Sporting Director: "The result is very disappointing but unfortunately, hardly surprising. As was the case in Spa a week ago, we knew that on tracks like these, with characteristics that highlight our car's weaknesses, we would struggle. Now we and the drivers have to focus to be as well prepared as possible for tomorrow's race, ready to make the most of any opportunity that could come our way. That's for right now, but even more importantly, we must continue to work hard to improve the car for this season and the next.
"On a difficult day like this, there was one ray of sunshine thanks to the guys in the Ferrari Driver Academy who are racing in Formula 2, with Mick Schumacher taking his first win of the season. It's great to see that, at the moment, the top three in the series, leader Robert Shwartzman, Callum Ilott and Mick himself, are all products of our Academy."