Scuderia Ferrari did well in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix. Charles secured a spot on the second row thanks to a great last lap in Q3, when he set the fourth fastest time in 1'23"265. It means he starts ahead of all the team's direct rivals in the Constructors' battle.
It was an exciting 60 minutes with rain falling for a good part of Q1, rendering conditions tricky for the rest of the sessions. Everyone in the team, the drivers, those on the pit wall and in the garage, did an impeccable job making the most of every opportunity. Carlos Sainz played a very important role even though he was always going to start from the back of the grid having changed his PU. He thus did all he could to help the team, firstly by getting into Q2 and eliminating one of the main rivals in the Constructors' battle and then by giving Charles a tow on his final run in Q2.
It looks like being a very busy race tomorrow. Charles starts from third on the grid with a chance of an excellent result. Carlos will be hoping to fight his way up the order from the back row, but the thought of the fight is no doubt an extra motivation. One unknown for both drivers is how the tyres will behave over a long run, an area in which there is still a lot of work to do.
Charles Leclerc: I am happy with my qualifying. P4 is a good result for the team, finishing just behind the championship leaders who, at the moment, are still tough for us to beat. We definitely maximised our car's potential today.
Q1 and Q2 were tricky for me, as I opted for a lower downforce set-up this weekend which is the right choice for the race and hopefully should pay off tomorrow. But in today's wet conditions, I slid around quite a bit and had to fight for it.
It was great to see Carlos being there and giving me the slipstream on the final straight in Q2. It was good teamwork and helped us make it to Q3. I am happy with my final lap in the last session and look forward to the race. If the conditions are dry, I am confident that we have good potential.
Carlos Sainz: It was a pity we were not trying for a fastest time, especially seeing the performance of the car in dry conditions. It is difficult to take, but looking at the big picture it is better to take the penalty now and have a better engine for the remainder of the season.
Our plan was executed perfectly today. In Q1 we took calculated risks to make it comfortably into Q2, bumping one car out which turned out to be a McLaren. Then in Q2 I stayed in the garage and went out on a perfectly timed strategy to help Charles with a bit of a slipstream on his Mediums.
For tomorrow, it all depends on how the car feels in traffic and how we can go through the field without damaging the tyres too much. The pace has been encouraging all weekend so we are ready to fight our way up the order as much as possible. Bring it on!
Laurent Mekies: It was a hectic and closely fought qualifying session and the result shows we did a good job of preparing for this Grand Prix. It wasn't easy managing all the variables today, starting with the weather and the choices to be made in terms of levels of aero downforce, especially for Charles. He did a great job, keeping calm even when the situation looked complicated and then he pulled it out of the bag in the end with a wonderful lap. Carlos showed great team spirit, yesterday getting on with a different but useful programme which we hope will pay off tomorrow and today he also played his part when the need arose.
We are well aware the points are given out tomorrow and that tyre management will be very difficult in the race, but we will do our best as always.
Check out our Saturday gallery from Istanbul, here.