All Messages 2019

2019 | 11 | 29 GP Abu Dhabi This Friday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a busy one for the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow team and its drivers. Over the two free practice sessions which took place in the afternoon and evening, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel worked solidly on preparing for qualifying and the race, both of them making a mistake each, although it did not have a significant effect on the day’s programme.

FP1. Sebastian and Charles ended the first session in fifth and seventh places respectively. They began on the soft tyres before switching to the medium to evaluate its potential behaviour in the first stint of the race. Vettel posted a 1’38”906 and Charles did a 1’39”249. When there was just a minute remaining, the German spun his car into the barriers at turn 19 which slightly damaged his SF90.

FP2. Before the second session, which started in daylight and ended under the floodlights that turn night into day at the Yas Marina circuit, the gearbox was changed on Sebastian’s car, but this was penalty-free as the one taken off was not his race gearbox. The green light came on at 17 (14 CET), exactly the same time at which qualifying starts tomorrow. It was a busy 90 minutes. Both drivers began with qualifying runs and the Monegasque was immediately in trouble, when, at the same turn 19, he brushed the barriers with both right hand wheels. A check revealed no damage was done and so he was able to go back out, with nothing more than a tyre change. Leclerc was quickest of the two Scuderia drivers, posting a 1’36”642, slightly better than Vettel’s 1’36”691.

Long run. In the second part of the session, the focus shifted to long run work for the race. Sebastian tackled his on medium tyres and Charles had the hardest ones.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“In the medium low speed corners of this circuit we are still lacking speed, compared to our rivals.
Sector three is the one that really hurts us, we are struggling with the tyres getting hot, and the car is difficult to drive. Of course when you drive on the limit, any car will be more difficult to drive, and this what we are here to do. We will try our best to have a solid weekend, we can improve the set up and then see if we can fight well on Sunday.
Today I hit the barriers: I was caught out a bit by surprise as I didn’t expect to spin. I knew going in that I would have to catch the rear, but it didn’t quite work, which was a bit unfortunate, but the only damage was to the rim.”

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Photo © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

17 | 11 | 2019 GP Brasilien / GP Brazil Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow leaves Brazil with the worst possible result: no points following a collision between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, which led to both of them having to retire from the race, after they had both been front runners right up the final laps.

Start. Sebastian was on the dirty side of the track and got wheelspin when the lights went out, so that he was passed at turn 1 by Lewis Hamilton. Starting 14th, Charles got away well, immediately passing Nico Hulkenberg and over the opening seven laps he pulled off a series of incredible overtaking moves to pass Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris, Antonio Giovinazza, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, before setting off in pursuit of Alex Albon in the second Red Bull.

First stop. When Max Verstappen and Hamilton made their first stops to fit soft tyres, Sebastian stayed out until lap 25, when he took on medium tyres. Charles kept going until lap 29, pitting for a set of Hards. At that point the order was Verstappen, Hamilton, Sebastian, Bottas, Albon and Charles.

Safety Car. Bottas made a second stop on lap 41 going from Hards to Mediums, which promoted Leclerc to fifth. The Finn closed on him rapidly, trying several times to get past, but Charles defended well. But then Bottas’ car, on lap 51, had a problem and he had to park it trackside, which brought out the Safety Car. Sebastian, who had pitted on lap 49 for Softs, stayed out, given that he had no more sets of new tyres, while Charles stopped for new Softs.

Lap 66. At the restart, Hamilton led from Verstappen, Vettel, Albon and Charles: at turn 1, Albon managed to pass Sebastian who tucked in behind the Thai. At the same time, Charles closed right up to his team-mate and passed Seb for fourth place at turn 1 on lap 66. Vettel got a better exit in the second part of the Senna Esses and chased after Charles, trying to take the place back. However, it resulted in the two men colliding on the straight and it spelt the end of the race for both of them. The race was won by Verstappen. The next round, the last of the season, is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which takes place on Sunday 1 December.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“The summary of the day is that we did not finish a race in which we could have got a good result. It’s a shame about the collision between us, especially for the team as a whole, given that both cars were in the points and considering how much work everyone puts in, both at the track and back in Maranello.
From my point of view, the race was going well, even if I think that Max (Verstappen) was uncatchable today. Now we must just focus on the final race of the season where will try and bring home the best possible result.”

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Photo © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

16 | 11 | 2019 GP Brasilien / GP BrazilQualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, that gets underway tomorrow at 14.10 local time (18.10 CET), once again saw the pair of SF90s in the running for pole right up until the final moments. Sebastian Vettel will start from the front row in second place alongside Max Verstappen, while Charles Leclerc will line up fourteenth, with a ten place penalty for having fitted a new engine this weekend. The Monegasque driver will be hoping to play a strategic game given that he will start on a different tyre compound to the majority of drivers that start ahead of him.

Q1. In the first part, Sebastian managed to post a competitive time immediately, in 1’08”556, but he didn’t improve on his second run, although it was enough to make the cut in fifth place. Charles was more progressive, improving with every lap, going from 1’08”592 to 1’08”510 and finally 1’08”496, to be second fastest.

Q2. In the second session, the two drivers ran different strategies: Sebastian ran the Softs, the majority choice, while Charles chose the Mediums with the intention of running a different race strategy, maybe staying out on track longer to move up the order as the others pitted. He managed it perfectly stopping the clocks in 1’07”888, which was actually better than Sebastian’s time of 1’08”050, so that both moved forward to the top ten shoot out.

Q3. In the final part of qualifying, both Ferrari drivers went quickest on their first runs. Sebastian did a 1’07”631, to line up on the front row next to Verstappen, while Charles’ 1’07”728 was good enough for fourth, but he starts from the seventh row and will be on the attack.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“Max put in a strong lap and so we can be happy with a front row start. I think our performance matched our expectations and it is good that our lap time was reasonably close. It puts us in a good position for tomorrow.
We improved the car, it felt better and it was coming alive in quali, I am reasonably optimistic that we are in good shape for the race, but we will have to wait and see. It is supposed to be a bit warmer and it will be important to look after the tyres and to make the right strategy calls.
It will also be key to get a good start. The weather is unpredictable here in Interlagos, there could be sunshine but it might rain. 71 laps means it’s a long race and I think it will be fun.”

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Photo © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

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GP VAE / Abu Dhabi
12 | 01 | 2019

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