The first Sprint race of the season saw Scuderia Ferrari get on level terms with its closest rivals for tomorrow's Made in Italy e dell'Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola's Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit. This was down to a great performance from Carlos Sainz who staged an impressive climb up the order, making up six places to put him on the second row of the grid, in fourth place for the start tomorrow. Charles Leclerc also produced a strong drive to take the lead from second on the grid when the lights went out thanks to a perfect start. However, in the final laps, he suffered with some graining on his Soft tyres and could no longer fend off Max Verstappen who took the lead on the penultimate lap. Therefore, he will once again line up on the front row alongside the Dutchman.
Today's Sprint has reset the grid order for tomorrow's Grand Prix, run over 63 laps, equivalent to 309.049 kilometres and starting at 15 CET. It also provided plenty of useful data on various aspects, first and foremost the behaviour of the Soft tyres. Carlos' charge up the order not only moves him up the grid, it also puts him on 38 points in the standings, moving him up to second place, getting ahead of George Russell. Ferrari still leads the Constructors' on 116 points, while the second placed team is on 69.
Charles Leclerc: The Sprint taught us some valuable lessons ahead of tomorrow's race. My start was really strong, and then I got out of Max's DRS zone by creating a gap and was confident until we started to have some graining in the closing laps.
We may have paid the price for pushing too hard at the start, so that's something we have to work on tonight. If we manage to cure that, it will be a good fight tomorrow.
Carlos Sainz: Today was a good day and I'm fairly happy with the comeback. The start went well and then I was able to pick up places one at a time, with strong pace and good tyre management all the way. It was a solid Sprint race but most importantly, we are back in a good position for tomorrow.
After a difficult day yesterday, I want to thank all the tifosi for their support. It's such a positive boost. The weekend is still not over and I will give everything tomorrow to deliver a good result.
Laurent Mekies,Racing Director: It was a particularly busy Sprint from our point of view and the most important aspect of it was to have got Carlos back onto the second row, after he did a good job of moving up the order from tenth. Charles got a perfect start and was running at a very strong pace in the opening laps, although not quite enough to distance the Red Bulls. That's why, in the closing stages, when he had a bit more tyre graining than Verstappen, he was unable to fend him off.
Carlos was very adept at executing the race to the letter, in the way we had planned. He got off the line well and then he waited patiently in the opening laps before picking off all the cars ahead of him that were realistic targets. Having him on the second row is important for the whole team because it puts us on equal terms with our closest rivals in what I expect to be a very tactical race.
We will see some cars running quicker at the start of the stints and others that will be stronger towards the end. We have to take all these factors into consideration and work out the best possible strategy. The race looks to be open and we want to give it our all to repay the many fans who have come to the Grand Prix to thank them for their support, not just this weekend, but especially when things were not going that well for us.
Check out our Sprint gallery from Imola, here.