By: Myanna Wedes.
Charles Leclerc was smiling from ear to ear. Complete happiness with such a successful record at a young age in his incredible season with Ferrari. He will battle Lewis Hamilton who finished second and Sebastian Vettel who is behind. Could the first and second turns be where the race is won or lost!.. All three drivers provided some insight as to their thoughts on qualifying.
Q: Can you describe that pole position lap to us?
CL: It was quite a crazy lap. The first one I compromised it. I started the lap too close to Lewis and had a bit of pressure to perform on the last lap. I gave it all. I lose the car quite a few times and saw myself in the wall two to three times in the lap. It felt amazing, the car was great and Friday was a very difficult day for me.
Q: How surprised are you by the pace of your car this weekend?
CL: Very surprised actually because even though we thought there was more to come yesterday, we did not expect to challenge either of the Mercedes or Red Bull. It proves how good a job the team has done including back at the factory.
Q: Lewis, how surprised are you by the pace of the Ferrari?
LH: We obviously came in to the weekend knowing we would have a fight with the Red Bulls and the Ferrari’s have been not so good in Budapest and now here it has worked. We were not expecting to have the deficit to them. I am grateful that I was able to split them, only just, we were lacking pace today. It was a struggle to battle with them. I like how close it was between us.
Q: How was Q3 for you?
LH: The day has not been great. Yesterday was a much smoother day for me. Today was hard. I feel like performance was lost a little bit today or everyone else improved. Q3 first lap did not feel good, we were a second away. I just managed to pull back half a second on the last run, a clean run.
Q: Sebastian, how was the final segment of qualifying?
SV: It started off good. Lost in sector one. The last lap did not come together. I think overall it is a good result of us pulling the car for first and third. Happy with that, not happy with the end of Q3.
Q: What about tomorrow the long run pace of Ferrari versus that of Mercedes and Red Bull?
SV: We were able to extract more from the car today.
Q: Charles, can you tell us about the two hard moments near the wall and how you patched the car?
CL: I think every time you lose the car, you never really know how you do it. Instinctive. These two times, exit of turn three and eleven. Quite big times. Everything after that went smooth and I was just giving it all. It was quite intense in the car. Very happy.
Q: Charles and Sebastian, how much of a difference has the upgrade made?
CL: On my side, I struggle to compare to tracks. Performance wise it seems it is working. I think from Hungary to now, we have understood the car better. The balance to achieve the best performance. This has also showed the results on track. A combination of knowing what the balance needs to be and improvements made on the car.
SV: Different tracks, in Hungary, if you speak about qualifying, for tomorrow we do not know yet. We did not have such great balance. This weekend, adding performance to the car in the right place.
Lewis was also asked about how ominous the pace was of the red car?
LH: A street circuit like this, they have done a great job. I do not know where we are losing it. Some part may be straight line. They match us in the last sector. Overall, a big step for them. We just keep pushing. We have not really had an upgrade in a while, maybe when that comes, it will help us a little bit.
Q: Can you explain where you were losing so much time yesterday and today what you changed to find the pace. Night and day shift?
SV: Not that much obviously. Yes, yesterday we suffered with a lack of front grip so we tried to put more front in the car. The temperature tonight, it came alive for us in terms of spec.
CL: I was not happy with my driving yesterday. It was not great day for me. I improved quite a lot today. Balance, we improved from yesterday to today.
Q: Charles, that is three pole positions in a row, fifth career pole position. How is your confidence and how do you feel?
CL: It feels great or two. You enjoy for a very short time qualifying. There are no points awarded for pole position which is a shame. It is very good to see that we are on pole at a track like this where we expected to struggle. Me, personally, I am just focusing on the race and of course very happy if I finish in the same position tomorrow.