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28 | 09 | 2019 GP Russland / GP Russia Sochi – Scuderia Ferrari secured its seventh pole of the season, the sixth courtesy of Charles Leclerc, who was the only driver to get under the 1m 32s barrier at Sochi Autodrom. Tomorrow at 14.10 local (13.10 CET) the two SF90s will be in line astern on the grid, after Sebastian Vettel qualified third for the second race in a row, in both cases just behind Lewis Hamilton, by 29 thousandths in Singapore and 23 here in Sochi. This was Scuderia Ferrari’s 226th pole and, for the first time since 2008, the team has secured more than six poles in a season. Charles is the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher to take four consecutive poles, the German having done so in Italy, the USA, Japan and Malaysia in 2000.

Q1. Mixed fortunes in the first part of qualifying, Charles immediately posted a good 1’33”613 on the Medium tyres, however Sebastian made a mistake in the third sector which meant he lifted off and aborted the run. From then on things got complicated, as on two occasions, as he tried to put in a quick lap, the yellow flags came out, because of incidents involving first Kubica and then Albon, which meant he had to lift off again. The Thai driver’s encounter with the barriers eventually brought out the red flag so that Sebastian had to make one final run on Soft tyres to easily make the cut to Q2 with a 1’33”032.

Q2. Charles now fitted Soft tyres for the first time and immediately did a good lap in 1’32”434. Sebastian however used the same set he’d used in Q1 to post a 1’33”091 which he later improved to 1’32”536 after pitting for a set of new Softs.

Q3. In this final session, Charles and Seb were able to run two sets each of Softs. On his first attempt the Monegasque stopped the clocks in 1’31”801, while the German did a 1’32”135. After changing tyres Charles got down to a 1’31”628 and Seb improved to 1’32”053, again just pipped by Hamilton by the smallest of margins.

All in the family. Charles was presented with the mini Pirelli tyre given to the man who is on pole by Robert Shwartzman. Earlier in the day, the Russian Ferrari Driver Academy student clinched the title in the Formula 3 championship with one race to go in the series. The race was won by fellow FDA driver Marcus Armstrong. Keeping it all in the family.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“Overall I was reasonably happy with the car, but not entirely satisfied. Q1 was a bit complex as I made a mistake on my first attempt and then I was slowed by two yellow flags. I found it difficult to get into a clean rhythm, especially towards the end of Quali, when it was vital to extract the absolute maximum out of the car.
However the race is tomorrow and I am confident. We need a good start and then we can think about the rest of it. We start on the clean side, on the Softs while the Mercedes are on Mediums and being on different tyre strategies will make for an interesting fight. I believe we have made the right tyre choice for the start and I think we have an advantage over our rivals down the straight, so a tow might come into play.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

27 | 09 | 2019 GP Russland / GP RussiaScuderia Ferrari got through all its Friday programme for the Russian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were second and fifth respectively at the end of the day. The Maranello squad drivers concentrated at first on setting up the car and validating the aero package introduced on Singapore on what is a very different circuit here at the Sochi Autodrom. In the afternoon, the focus switched to preparing for tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s race, doing simulation runs on the Soft and Medium compounds.

FP1. During the 90 minutes of the morning session, Charles and Sebastian did 40 laps in total, 20 each. Charles was fastest in 1’34”462 and Seb was third with a 1’35”005.

FP2. Charles was second fastest behind Max Verstappen and Sebastian was fifth. Both drivers got through their programme bringing the total number of laps to 105. They started this 90 minute session on the medium tyres posting times of 1’34”148 and 1’34”306 respectively, before moving to Pirellis softest compound to drop the times to 1’33”497 for Charles and 1’34”201 for Seb, who made a small mistake on his fastest lap.

Long run. In the second part of the session the Scuderia Ferrari drivers began working in race configuration, doing long runs on the Soft and Medium tyres. The SF90s will be back on track tomorrow at noon (11 CET) for the final hour of free practice, prior to qualifying at 15 (14 CET). The sixth edition of the Russian Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday at 14.10 (13.10 CET).

Sebastian Vettel #5
“My day was not perfect, as in the afternoon I struggled a bit to find the right balance and therefore I never got into a rhythm. I think we can do better tomorrow as we tried different things and now we need to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
I think we need to work more on the car and then we’ll see if we are competitive. It’s too early to tell what the pecking order is and we will get a better idea of where we are tomorrow. I don’t know what the weather is doing, but the closer we can be to the front the better it is. Anyway, we have the tyres for whatever the situation might be.
To summarise I think we can improve, in particular in terms of balance. I hope tomorrow we are on the good side of things.”

  Bildergalerie

Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

26 | 09 | 2019 GP Russland / GP Russia Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc arrived bright and early at the Sochi Autodrom this morning, to be met by cool weather with the occasional rain shower. They had their first technical meetings, prior to the press sessions in the afternoon in the team hospitality.

Sebastian. First to talk was Vettel, fresh from his win in Singapore. “I think the result was very nice for the whole team, because the win came on a track that didn’t suit us on paper,” he began. “For me obviously, after the race in Monza, it was very positive. Now we must concentrate on this race and on the coming ones, continuing to learn more about the car and our working methods. I think our aero package worked in the best possible way in Singapore, but we also did well in terms of our teamwork, working together right from the start of practice. The result of what we did on Friday and Saturday morning then became obvious in qualifying and the race, where we managed to get all the potential out of the car.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

22 | 09 | 2019 GP Singapur / GP Singapore Scuderia Ferrari dominated the 12th edition of the Singapore Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc finishing first and second. The result was down to a perfect strategy that led to the team’s 84th one-two finish in Formula 1. The key moments were the pit stops, with Seb’s on lap 19 and Charles’ on 20. From a situation where the team was running first and third, after all the major players had pitted, the two SF90s headed the field, although now with Sebastian ahead of Charles, who had started from pole and had led the early stages of the race.

Start. The start went well, with Charles maintaining his advantage over Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian. All the way to Turn 7, the German tried to get past the English Mercedes driver but had to give best in the end. Once the race settled down, Leclerc did not push too hard, so as to save the tyres as much as possible to fit the requirement for a one-stop strategy. On lap 19, the traffic situation looked good enough to go for the pit stops. The team therefore decided to bring in Sebastian first, as he was under threat of an undercut from Max Verstappen, who was less than a second behind. The stop was perfect and after it, Vettel had a clear track ahead of him, which meant he could push to the maximum, making ground on the rest of the field to the extent that, when Charles stopped one lap later, he found himself behind Sebastian.

Safety Car Periods. On lap 35, the Safety Car came out following the incident between George Russell and Romain Grosjean, when Vettel had around a 5 second lead over Charles, who was followed by Verstappen, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. There were two more Safety Car periods, one when Sergio Perez stopped on track and another when Kimi Raikkonen had to do the same. The slower laps allowed the Ferraris to save their tyres so that they were able to comfortably make it to the finish, with the chequered flag being waved almost on the regulation two hour mark.

Statistics. This was Scuderia Ferrari’s third consecutive win, the first time that’s happened since 2008 when there were actually four in a row, in Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain and Turkey. Sebastian returned to the top step of the podium after an absence of over a year, dating back to Belgium 2018. It was his fifth win in Singapore, which is a record for any driver at the Marina Bay track. His 14th win with the Scuderia also puts him third in the list of all-time Ferrari winners between Michael Schumacher on 72 and Niki Lauda on 15. It is his 53rd win and the Scuderia’s 238th. The next round, the 16th of the season, is next weekend in Russia, at the Sochi Autodrom.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“After yesterday, when I wasn’t able to get everything out of the car, I am pleased with the way everything went today. It was about time! The last few weeks have been far from simple for me, but in the end, I knew I could turn things around. I never stopped believing in myself and today, with the great help of the team here and in Maranello, we got the result we should always be aiming for.
I was playing a waiting game until I got the call on the radio to pit for new tyres. I had not expected to stay out so long but the decision was key, because I was able to rejoin with a clear track ahead of me and I could run at my own pace making up ground on all the others, to the extent that I was in the lead by almost five seconds at the time the Safety Car came out. From then on, the race was continually interrupted, with a further two restarts, but I still managed to maintain concentration and avoid making any mistakes.
It’s too early to say if this win means we can be competitive on all the coming tracks. Here, whoever is in front sets the pace, almost like in Monaco and on used tyres, Hamilton seemed stronger than us, which means we still have work to do when it comes to our race pace. Certainly the upgrades we brought here worked well and made us competitive, which means we are working in the right direction.”

  Bildergalerie

Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

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