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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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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

15 | 11 | 2019 GP Brasilien / GP BrazilFor Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and the other nine teams, this was something of a half day Friday at the Brazilian Grand Prix. That was down to the torrential rain that hit the track shortly before the start of the first free practice session. However, the track was dry in the afternoon and Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc ended up first and second fastest, although we can expect to see everyone’s times tumble tomorrow as the track rubbers in.

FP1. When the light turned green at the end of pit lane at 11am, there were only a few drops of rain, but the track was very wet with actual puddles at some corners. Charles and Sebastian were first out on track, making the most of the conditions to try out both the full wet and intermediate tyres, starting on the former and then switching to the latter. The times however meant little. The track began to dry towards the end and both Ferrari men went out on slicks, opting for the Softs to set their best times of 1’17”041 and 1’17”285 respectively. However, they only completed 13 laps each.

FP2. The afternoon allowed for more meaningful work on both the Medium and Soft tyres, with the drivers working on fine tuning the set-up for qualifying and the race. Charles was first to post a time in 1’10”297 followed almost immediately by a 1’10”157 from Sebastian. Leclerc then got down to a 1’09”829, bettered by Vettel who did a 1’09”570. The qualifying simulation then saw them take to the track on the Softs and Vettel was again fastest by 21 thousandths with a 1’09”217 compared to Leclerc’s 1’09”238.

Long run. For the final 35 minutes the work switched to race preparation with two long runs using different compounds: Leclerc used Mediums, Vettel Softs. The German did a total of 30 laps, the Monegasque 35.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“The car was decent, but it was not an easy day on track with the weather conditions, as we did not get so much consistent running. I think we understood what the car needs, and now we’ll take it from there and hopefully we can improve it. I believe we can and we must.
My pace was better on a single lap than on a longer run. We need more grip which is not so easy to find. But we can balance the car a bit more, which should make the long run better.
I am pretty confident we can make a step forward, but for the race it could be quite difficult, in line with what we saw at the last two races. Now, we must focus on our own work and make sure we are in better shape for the rest of the weekend and then we’ll see what it brings tomorrow and on Sunday.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

03 | 11 | 2019 GP USA There was disappointment for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow as it leaves Austin with just a fourth place finish courtesy of Charles Leclerc. In fact, the Monegasque driver had a tough time from Saturday onwards, when he had a power unit problem in free practice and he had to fall back on using a previous engine from then on. Sebastian had an even worse time of it, having to retire on lap 8 when a suspension component failed on his SF90.

Start. Neither Sebastian nor Charles got the best of starts off second and fourth places on the grid, both men losing one place each to Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton respectively. Seb struggled for grip on the opening lap with massive understeer and was passed by Hamilton and Charles and a bit later by Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. His race settled down from then on, but on lap 8 the right rear suspension broke and Sebastian had to retire.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“I am very disappointed that I had to retire, because I was hoping for a good race.
I had very poor grip on the first lap and had to let a lot of cars by. I struggled to get the car to work, especially in right hand corners, maybe something was already broken on the car. Then, after seven laps the suspension failed over the bump in turn 8.
At that time, I hadn’t done anything different to the previous laps over the whole weekend. I think today we had the potential for a podium, so it’s a shame. Finally, I want to congratulate Lewis for his wonderful achievement.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

02 | 11 | 2019 GP USA 12 thousandths of a second. That was the infinitesimal gap that separated Sebastian Vettel from Valtteri Bottas’ pole time in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix. The German will thus start from second on the grid, when the race gets underway tomorrow at 13.10 local (20.10 CET). Lining up right behind him will be his team-mate Charles Leclerc, who had to settle for fourth place in what was the most closely contested qualifying session of the season with the top four drivers – Bottas, Seb, Verstappen and Charles – all within 108 thousandths.

Super teamwork. The Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow mechanics’ contribution to the fight for pole actually began halfway through the third free practice session. That’s when Charles’ SF90 was back in the garage after he’d had to park it at the side of the track on his installation lap, shortly after the start of the session, with an engine problem. The guys did an incredible job to change the Power Unit on the number 16 car in just over two hours. There is no penalty for Leclerc as the PU fitted had already been used this season.

Q1. Charles was first out on track to ensure everything was in working order and to assess the wind direction at the Circuit of the Americas, as it was gusting hard in some sections of the track. The Monegasque began with a 1’34”696, quickly getting down to a 1’33”988. Sebastian got through to Q2 with one run in 1’33”766.

Q2. In the second part of qualifying, which also decides which tyre compound is used for the start of the race, the two SF90s used Mediums to set almost identical times of 1’33”198 for Seb and 1’33”188 for Charles. They did one more run on the same compound to cover off any possible improvement from those running the Softs. Again the two men set similar times, Vettel posting a 1’32”782 and Charles a 1’32”760.

Q3. Both men each had two sets of Soft tyres for the final part of the session. On the first run the German did a 1’32”041, just 12 thousandths off Bottas, while the Monegasque managed a 1’32”227. On the second set, Vettel was unable to go quicker than his previous run, as was also the case for Bottas, but Charles improved to 1’32”137, which was not quite enough to take third spot on the grid, only 41 thousandths behind Max Verstappen.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“Tomorrow on the grid, I’ll be eight metres behind Valtteri, which will seem strange as the gap today in qualifying was definitely smaller! 12 thousandths is really very little and so I can definitely say I was a little bit unlucky.
I have to admit that, on my first run, there was maybe some room to be faster, as my aim was to set a good time and then improve on my second set of tyres. Unfortunately, I was a bit too aggressive and maybe the track had got a bit slower and that’s where the time that might have put me on pole, escaped me.
It’s not bad being on the front row here, as was proved by Kimi’s start last year. It will be important to get everything right at the start and not make any mistakes when it comes to our tyre strategy. We saw last Sunday that sometimes taking a risk can pay off, so we will study the situation very carefully before the start. Friday’s race pace wasn’t that strong, but I think all aspects of the car have improved today, so we will just have to see where we are in the race.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

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