Ferrari’s slipstreaming tactic in qualifying was “a smart thing to do” – Verstappen

2022 French Grand Prix

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The slipstreaming tactics Ferrari used to help Charles Leclerc win pole position for the French Grand Prix were “smart”, said his rival Max Verstappen.

With Carlos Sainz Jnr set to start from the back of the grid due to a power unit components penalty, Ferrari used their driver to provide a slipstream to his team mate Leclerc.

Verstappen said Red Bull didn’t do the same because he and team mate Sergio Perez were both in contention for pole position.

“We are both, of course, trying to get the best possible qualifying result,” he explained. “It’s a bit different for Carlos starting in the back.

“So I think it was a smart thing to do and probably if one of us had to start in the back, something similar can happen as well.”

Sainz ensured he was in position to give Leclerc a tow approaching the extremely fast Beausset right-hander, then pulled out of his team mate’s way at the last moment.

“It’s all in the trust at the end,” said Leclerc. “I knew that Carlos was going to eventually get out the way at one point. I just didn’t know when. But Carlos judged it perfectly and got out the right way at the right moment.”

Leclerc beat Verstappen to pole position by three-tenths of a second. He indicated the extra time he gained from the slipstream hadn’t proved decisive in the fight over first place.

“I think it’s [worth] around two-tenths, of what I remember in the car compared to the lap of Q2 without the tow,” he said. “So it’s significant, it would have been a lot more tight with Max without the tow. But it was a nice help anyway.”

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2022 French Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Ferrari’s slipstreaming tactic in qualifying was “a smart thing to do” – Verstappen”

  1. I think the tow wasn’t decisive because Max didn’t improve as much as Leclerc but it was the right thing to do.

    1. Also appears that way to me.

    2. Agree, Max didn’t look particularly speedy on that last lap but it was a smart thing for Ferrari to do as they had no idea at the time what RB could do. Ferrari is the only ones who have two sets of softs, RB only has one set. Not sure if thats going to help Ferrari but it could turn out to be an interesting race if there’s yellows or a red.

      1. Typo: I meant to say Ferrari is the only front runner to have two sets of Mediums, not softs.

        1. I belive only one mediums will be used in a race

  2. So “helping a team mate” is a brand new idea for MV? Hmmm.

  3. some racing fan
    24th July 2022, 7:01

    Stirling Moss did something like that to Ferrari during the ’61 French GP. During Friday practice, he was slipstreaming the Ferrari of von Trips down Reims’s long straights, which had an engine with 60 more hp than the Climax engine in Moss’s Lotus. Moss managed to set the fastest time of the day, and when he passed the Ferrari pit and gave them a Churchillian gesture (the “V”), which they saw because there was no wall or barrier separating the narrow pits from the track…

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