Scuderia Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc will start the Australian Grand Prix from fifth and seventh places on the grid respectively. It was a frustrating Albert Park qualifying session for the team as it was unable to secure the result that should have been within its grasp.
As has been the case in this season's previous two races, the final part was played out in thousandths of a second. Carlos and Charles got through the first two elimination sessions with relative ease and made it to the top ten shoot-out with two sets of new Soft tyres each. For his second run, it was agreed that Charles would not do a preparation lap, as there was very little time left. He could do no better than 1'17"369, which secured him seventh place. Carlos encountered traffic on his preparation lap and had to slow down too much, thus losing tyre temperature. He paid the price in Turn 1 where he lost a few tenths of a second. He was able to improve a bit, with 1'17"270 being good enough for fifth, three tenths off second place and less than two off the second row. The race will be long and so there should be opportunities to move up the order. It gets underway tomorrow at 14 local (7 CET) over 58 laps, equivalent to 306.124 kilometres.
Carlos Sainz: We had decent pace in qualifying today. Unfortunately there was a bit of confusion during the last preparation lap with other cars and that cost us a couple of tenths in Turn 1, as I arrived at it with the tyres a bit too cold. We have worked on different set up configurations during the weekend and tomorrow we'll see what we can do during the race. It won't be an easy one, but we will try to move up from our grid positions and bring home a good result!
Charles Leclerc: It hasn't been the best of qualifyings. I was confident that I could put it all together on our last lap in Q3, but things did not go as planned as I didn't do the prep lap and we lost time. We will make sure we improve this as a team for the future.
We have tried different configurations of set-up and worked on our race pace, so I look forward to fighting for some positions tomorrow.
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal: Today's qualifying was very close and unfortunately, things did not go to plan for us. In Q3, we were on the limit in terms of time at the end of the session so we didn't do a preparation lap with Charles. Carlos didn't manage to put a lap together, losing a few tenths in the first corner on what would have been his best lap, otherwise he could have been second or third. However, the points are given out tomorrow and, since Jeddah, we have worked on getting consistent and strong performance from the SF-23 in race trim. Now we will prepare for the race as well as possible with the intention of moving up the order. Overtaking is not easy here, but it can be an unpredictable race.
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