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25 | 04 | 2019 GP Aserbaidschan / GP Azerbaijan

Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc spent their Thursday in Baku splitting their time between talking to media, having meetings with the engineers and walking the track. The two Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers walked round the street circuit here in the Azerbaijan capital, before the first full planning meeting with engineers and technicians prior to the start of track action tomorrow.

Sebastian Vettel was first up in front of the press, telling them he was set for a busy Friday. “We have some updates that we will have to test and evaluate to decide if they can help us get the results we’re expecting.” As to the topic of their chances of fighting for the championship title, the German had no doubts about it. “We are still in the hunt. In the first three races, things did not go as we had expected and so maybe the competition got a bit more than they deserved, while we got a bit less. But we are working to turn things around. I still believe we have a very competitive package and if we manage to make it work properly we can be very quick and make life difficult for our rivals.”

   Bildergalerie

Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

 

25 | 04 | 2019 GP Aserbaidschan / GP Azerbaijan

Formula 1 is visiting Baku for the fourth time. The race first appeared on the calendar as the European GP in 2016. As from the following year, it changed its name to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Baku street circuit is one of three venues on the current calendar where Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow has never won. The other two are Sochi in Russia and Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi. The best result for the Maranello squad at this venue was last year’s second place courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen.
The Azerbaijan capital has only recently featured on motorsport’s world stage, with the first race, a GT event, being held as recently as 2012. Nevertheless, the circuit was an immediate hit with the drivers who like the extremely high speeds experienced on the straights, especially on the start-finish one, which sees speeds in excess of 350 km/h.
The track features long straights and right-angle turns. That makes engine power a key requirement, while drivers have to brush the walls in search of a quick lap, using every inch of the track. There’s also a tighter section around turns 8,9,10 and 11, including the incredibly narrow section around the ancient castle, where good traction is the main requirement. The circuit map can be misleading, because it claims there are turns 17,18, 19 and 20 but this section is taken flat out and DRS can be deployed here.
Practice gets underway at 13 (11 CET) on Friday with the second session at 17 (15 CET) with qualifying at the same time on Saturday. The third Azerbaijan Grand Prix starts at 16.10 (14.10 CET) on Sunday over a distance of 51 laps.

Sebastian Vettel #5 This six kilometre circuit has the longest straight on the calendar, 2.2 kilometres, where we reach 360 kph before the very heavy braking for the first slow left hand turn. The steep climb past the old city walls is only seven metres wide, which feels very tight in a Formula One car – you feel like you are threading a needle. There isn´t enough space for two cars here so you have to agree on the right of way between you! A big challenge at Baku is to find the right wing level to get good grip for the slow corners but also to be fast enough on the straights where we spend a lot of time at full throttle. It’s not an easy compromise.

Foto © B. Roeske

2019 04 14 GP China 11 A third place for Sebastian Vettel and a fifth for Charles Leclerc: that was the outcome of the Chinese Grand Prix, the one thousandth race in the history of Formula 1, for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, held today at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Off the grid, Sebastian got away better than poleman Valtteri Bottas and attempted to go down the outside of the Finn at the first corner, but that resulted in Charles going past him on the inside. The cars in front were running at a slightly better pace than the SF90s, which is why, after 10 laps, the team asked the drivers to swap positions to see if Sebastian could match Bottas’ pace. Max Verstappen’s early pit stop then forced the team to bring Sebastian in to cover it, sending him out on the Hard compound, so that he would not end up behind the Dutchman, who did manage to get back on track ahead of Charles.
Sebastian pitted for a second time on lap 35, this time fitting the Medium tyres, as did Hamilton and Bottas, the latter now finding himself behind Charles. Leclerc’s second stop came on lap 43 and he rejoined almost 15 seconds off Verstappen.
In the closing stages, Vettel consolidated his third place behind Hamilton and Bottas, while Charles closed much of the gap to Verstappen, but not enough to try and secure fourth place. Ferrari is second in the Constructors’ championship on 73 points, while Sebastian is fourth in the Drivers’ on 37, with Charles fifth on 36. The next race is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on 28 April.

Sebastian Vettel #5 “We are happy we got the podium, but overall we can’t be satisfied because we were too slow today. We were hoping to be in a much better place and be a match for Mercedes, but we were not. Also it was a shame we didn’t manage to finish third and fourth, In terms of calls from our pit wall today, the priority always lies within the team and Charles and I are both aware we are driving for the team. We can do our own race but first of all we have to ensure Ferrari is in a position to fight with its rivals. I think we have a good car and we are still not able to unlock its potential completely. We are learning a lot about it and it’s important to do many laps to get a better feeling for it. We are getting an ever clearer picture of what we are lacking at the moment, so I think the next few weeks will be important for us, so that we can get on the right road for the coming months”.

   Bildergalerie

Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

2019 | 04 | 13 GP China  

Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will start the one thousandth Formula 1 World Championship race from the second row of the grid. Tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix starts at 14.10 local time (8.10 CET).

Q1. The pair of Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90s took to the track on Soft tyres. Sebastian did a 1’33”557, while Charles was slowed by no fewer than four cars in the final sector and could do no better than 1’34”069. That meant the Monegasque driver had to fit another set of new tyres to comfortably make the cut with a 1’32”712.

Q2. In the second part, both Ferrari cars ran Medium tyres, so as to start the race on them. Sebastian did a 1’32”232 and Charles stopped the clocks on 1’32”324.

Q3. In the top ten shoot out, both drivers had two sets of new Softs. Sebastian’s first run delivered a 1’32”001 and Charles did a 1’32”102. On the second set, both drivers improved, the German went down to 1’31”848, good enough for third, while the Monegasque went down to 1’31”865, which netted him fourth place on the grid. Pole position went to Valtteri Bottas in 1’31”574 ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 1’31”570.

Sebastian Vettel #5 “We could have done a bit better today but probably not enough to really beat our rivals for pole. It could have been worse, but I am not entirely happy. We started off well, but then our competitors had more pace over the single lap in terms of pure performance. We should have a good car tomorrow though and hopefully we can show it throughout the whole 56 laps. It’s a long race and I expect it to be a very tight one too. Making the right strategy choices will be important; we must make the right call at the right time and see where that takes us. I am not sure everyone understands how many variables have to be taken into account. The top drivers are all starting on Medium tyres and we will see if that turns out to be the right choice. I believe anything can happen.”

   Bildergalerie

Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

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