Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, drove his SF 1000 to the fourth-fastest time at Silverstone, here in the completion of the qualifying for the first-race of the header at the British Grand Prix. In some ways, this was no ordinary performance, if you were to think about it.
Though, the gap to the race-leader Lewis Hamilton, who drove a belter of a lap at 1:24:303- the fastest lap ever recorded at Silverstone in qualifying- was significant, the void seems manageable when you realize that Charles Leclerc is competing with not the best machinery on the current grid.
Ferrari’s race pace this year, which happens to be the last season for current driver Sebastian Vettel, is utterly doubtable and doesn’t please anyone to note just how low the SF 1000 is on horsepower. Moreover, a struggle that has really undermined the charge of the red cars on the grid is the low downforce of the Scuderia, something that doesn’t help in tracks like Silverstone, punctuated as much by fast-paced corners as laced with dominant straights like Wellington.
Against that narrative, one mustn’t, therefore, underplay what Charles Leclerc managed at a track where, last year, he drove home a fighting third for the same team, that too in his very first season.
The P4 might not be best position for a driver of his immaculate ability; but it is still a better position any day vis-a-vis where Sebastian Vettel is beginning his 2020 Silverstone challenge from, which is tenth on the grid.
Truth be told, throughout the entirety of the final qualifying session, Leclerc seemed in control and managed well his tyres, which is going to be such a crucial factor come the race day!
In fact, when compared to what third-placed Max Verstappen managed in his Red Bull, then Leclerc’s void to the Dutchman wasn’t all that massive really; the Red Bull RB 16 finishing only just head of the Scuderia number 16.
Overall the two Ferraris, therefore, P4 and P10, are both inside the top-10 on the grid and nothing should matter more than targetting a strong finish hopefully comfortably inside the points. Right?
That being said,
I’m extremely happy about today,” said Leclerc after qualifying. “I did not expect to be fourth for tomorrow’s race and especially not starting with mediums.”
With just that statement, one could note, the sort of relief that Charles Leclerc experiencing, being fully aware that the car is the one that lacks the race pace that is required to compete with the very top ranked talents.
He would, moreover, add, “We tried it but we were not very confident about making it. To make it work was very nice.
“It’s looking [better] for the race tomorrow because our race pace we are struggling. I think we have the pace, we are just destroying the tyres very quickly compared to the others, so starting on the medium will help us massively.”
For now, therefore, it will be simply down to tyre-management and making the most of what is clearly a competitive placement on the grid for Ferrari’s young gun. He would take heart from the fact that up ahead is the very guy he managed to beat albeit with some grit and effort as of the last year. So is there a way that Leclerc can get past the staunch defenses of Max? Or will he do as well as finishing inside the top five on the grid?
Lights out and away we go.