January 28, 2021

Leclerc happy but Vettel ‘struggling’

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Ferrari drivers in contrasting moods ahead of Sunday’s race

By Matt Morlidge

Last Updated: 01/08/20 6:39pm

1:11
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says he didn’t expect to qualify as a high as fourth ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says he didn’t expect to qualify as a high as fourth ahead of the British Grand Prix.

It was a qualifying of contrasts for Ferrari at the British GP as Charles Leclerc said he was surprised and “extremely happy” with fourth, while Sebastian Vettel “struggled” throughout and faces an uphill battle.

The slow start to F1 2020 buy the sport’s most successful team has been one of the talking points of the season so far – although Leclerc did provide a rare bright spot for the team with their highest grid slot of the season.

Leclerc was only a tenth of a second behind Max Verstappen in the fancied Red Bull, and at a high-speed track where Ferrari – who are currently fifth in the team standings – expected to face difficulties.

“I’m extremely happy about today,” Leclerc told Sky F1. “I did not expect to be P4 for the race.”

In an added boost for Leclerc, he will start Sunday’s race on the more durable medium tyre after managing to post a quick enough time in Q2 on that compound to make it through to the final shootout.

“I especially [did not expect to be] starting on the medium. We tried it but we were not very confident about making it.

“To make it work is very nice and it’s looking good for tomorrow. Because with our race pace we are struggling… I think we have the pace but we are just destroying the tyres very quickly compared to the others.

“Starting on the medium will help us massively.”

4:06
Lewis Hamilton brilliantly recovered from a spin to demolish Silverstone’s lap record and claim pole position for his home British Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton brilliantly recovered from a spin to demolish Silverstone’s lap record and claim pole position for his home British Grand Prix.

But Vettel faced plenty more problems than his younger team-mate.

After a disrupted Friday – Vettel missed P1 completely and then had a brake pedal issue in P2 – the four-time world champion was already on the back foot heading into qualifying and while he did make it into Q3, he qualified only 10th and will have to start the race on the soft tyre.

“I struggled to find the rhythm,” admitted Vettel. “The car was not too bad but it didn’t fit me today.

“[I was] struggling yesterday obviously with very little laps and this morning to get into the rhythm. Nevertheless I’ll try everything I can tomorrow and we’ll see what we can do.

“For sure, looking ahead starting on the soft tyre is not ideal. but it is what it is. We have to try to make the most of it.”