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Formula 1

Ferrari ‘should’ve been smarter’ in face of ‘bitter’ Q1 exit

by Matt Beer
3 min read

Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari “should’ve been smarter” about when it sent him out on track in Italian Grand Prix qualifying as he was consigned to a “bitter” Q1 exit.

Though he largely hadn’t gelled as well with the recalcitrant SF1000 as team-mate Charles Leclerc, Vettel had almost avoided the ignominy of a Q1 elimination, but failing to improve late on in Monza qualifying consigned him to 17th place on the grid.

Passed by Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and the Williams of George Russell in a chaotic late-Q1 out-lap, Vettel found himself boxed in in a pack of cars approaching Variante del Rettifilo and knew at that point already that his lap was ruined.

“Not much to talk through. It was a mess. A lot of cars in the same bit of the track. Where we were, where I was sent out, there was not much I could’ve done, so it’s obviously bitter,” said Vettel.

“I wasn’t the only one [to go out at that time], there were other teams as well sending out their cars, nobody wants to obviously start the run and not finish it but we should’ve probably been a bit smarter.”

Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc qualified 13th, matching his result from Spa-Francorchamps.

The draggy, down-on-power, difficult-to-drive SF1000 was distinctly poor at the Belgian Grand Prix, and was tipped to potentially fare even worse at Monza due to its layout.

This would’ve been particularly humiliating for Ferrari as the Monza circuit is synonymous with the car manufacturer, but the worst fears don’t appear to have been realised.

But the result still marked the first time since 1984 – when the Scuderia had Michele Alboreto 11th on the grid and Rene Arnoux 14th – that no Ferrari qualified in the top 10 at Monza.

Leclerc, who told his team his fastest lap was “the best I can do” after qualifying 13th, reiterated Ferrari knew it was in for another painful weekend.

“We know that Spa and here are probably the two worst tracks for us, with another one probably a bit later in the year,” he told Sky Sports, presumably referring to the straight-heavy Bahrain Outer layout that will be used for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Day Monza, Italy

“It’s tough because once you do a good lap and you do P13, it doesn’t feel good.

“But for now it’s like this and I need to extract the maximum out the car in the situation we are in, and that’s what I try to do.

“Surely it hurts even more once it’s at home [for Ferrari] but it’s the reality for us at the moment unfortunately and it’s like this.”

Leclerc got a great start in the Belgian Grand Prix but went backwards after that as both Ferraris toiled in race trim, proving powerless to overtake or defend on the long Kemmel straight.

With plenty of reason to expect much of the same at Monza, Leclerc admitted his sights were already on next weekend’s Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello, which is likewise a home race for Ferrari.

“I hope from the next race onwards we see a light at the end of the tunnel because for now that’s two very tough weekends where we are trying many things on the car but we don’t find a way through.”

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