The Ferrari drivers compromised their starting positions for today’s sprint race in order to improve their chances in the grand prix.Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr both had fresh sets of soft tyres available for their final runs in qualifying for the sprint race. However neither used them in order to have them spare for tomorrow’s longer race.
“On the medium we were actually quite competitive in Q1 and Q2,” Sainz explained. “And then for the soft we decided to save the new tyres for the race, the newer sets, and just simply in Q3 we decided to sacrifice a bit the spring quali and the sprint [race] to hopefully have a better race on Sunday.”
Leclerc qualified on the front row of the grid for the grand prix yesterday alongside pole-winner Max Verstappen. But running on a used set of soft tyres in today’s qualifying session he was only able to manage seventh place.
“I don’t know who else was on scrubbed tyres, but we were,” he said. “We had old tyres on so we expected it to not be great.
“But we are keeping the new tyres for somewhere else in the weekend. So let’s see if it pays off, I hope so.”
Leclerc suspects he may not be able to make much progress in the sprint race beyond the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda which starts one place ahead of him.
“I’ll do my best to try and take some positions, we’ll see,” he said. “Normally in the race we struggle a bit more but we’ve got I think Tsunoda in front which we should have a better pace than in race pace.
“Hopefully we can overtake him and gain one or two positions in the sprint and then focus on tomorrow and try to do the best job possible tomorrow.”
Ferrari’s tactic of running old rubber in sprint race qualifying for the sprint race would not have been possible at the start of the season when teams were required to run new tyres in the session. However the rule was later relaxed to allow teams to run used tyres.
Oscar Piastri also ran a set of used soft tyres in sprint race qualifying, but unlike the Ferrari drivers did not have a new set available.
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