In a thrilling turn of events at the Yas Marina Circuit, Charles Leclerc delivered a spectacular qualifying performance, securing a front-row start despite his team, Scuderia Ferrari, facing unexpected challenges. Carlos Sainz, Leclerc's teammate, experienced a less fortunate session, getting eliminated in the first qualifying round (Q1) due to heavy track traffic and evolving track conditions. This setback places Sainz in sixteenth position for the start of the race.
Leclerc's qualifying journey was a story of resilience and skill. Starting off with a challenging Q1 where he had to use an additional set of soft tires, Leclerc progressively improved his performance. By Q3, despite having only one new set of soft tires left, he managed an exceptional lap, securing his fifth consecutive front-row start, only bested by world champion Max Verstappen.
The upcoming Grand Prix, set to start at 5pm local time, holds high stakes for Ferrari. The team aims to clinch the second position in the Constructors' World Championship. The race, beginning at sunset, poses unique challenges due to the lack of significant long runs under similar track conditions. Both drivers and the team will have to navigate these uncharted waters with utmost precision.
Leclerc, driving car number 16, expressed satisfaction with his performance but remained cautious about the race prospects due to the circuit's demanding nature and potential high temperatures. His focus remains steadfast on securing the second position for Ferrari in the championship.
Sainz, in car number 55, had a more challenging day, hindered by a front wing issue and consequent traffic during his lap. Despite the setback, he remains determined to fight back in the race, contributing crucial points to the team's championship aspirations.
Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur acknowledged the tight competition in qualifying, emphasizing the importance of the preparation lap. He praised Leclerc's performance in Q3 and outlined an aggressive strategy for Sainz to climb up the ranks in the race. Vasseur remains optimistic about Ferrari's chances against Mercedes, focusing on scoring points with both cars to solidify their position in the championship.