Leclerc only seventh, Vettel out in Q2; Are Ferrari fifth-fastest team at start of F1 2020 season?
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 04/07/20 3:59pm
Ferrari’s fears heading into the new Formula 1 season were laid bare in Austrian GP qualifying as Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel both suffered, finishing only seventh and 11th on a disappointing Saturday.
The Scuderia, F1’s most successful team and Mercedes’ main challengers in recent seasons, have been playing down expectations throughout the weekend as they await major upgrades on their car, which hasn’t been updated since a problematic pre-season testing back in February.
But even Vettel admitted he was “surprised” by the lack of Ferrari pace after failing to even make it through to Q3 in the first qualifying of F1 2020.
It is the first time the German, who will be leaving the team at the end of the season, has exited Q2 on pace alone during his Ferrari career.
And at least one driver from Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Racing Point out-qualified Leclerc in the lead Ferrari.
Leclerc, who was audibly frustrated on team radio, was almost a second slower than Austria pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas.
Ferrari struggle in Spielberg: What drivers said
Sebastian Vettel: “Of course it’s a surprise, we thought we had a little bit more in hand but it seems the others were probably running a little bit more fuel or were more conservative in practice.
“I wasn’t so happy with the car, more oversteer in entry than I would like.
“But we will see, I think tomorrow is a different picture. It’s a long race, I think in race trim we are always better and we will try to make some good ground and score some good points.”
Charles Leclerc: “It’s not an easy qualifying for us. Unfortunately that’s where we are at the moment.
“We need to stay positive in these moments that are very hard to find any positives. I think this is the way forward to work properly and to try and get out of these hard times.
“Yes it’s difficult, but we need to work as a team and hopefully be as strong as possible tomorrow to try and cheer everyone up.”
More to follow…
The new Formula 1 season is underway Sky Sports F1 with the Austrian GP. Sunday’s race starts at 2.10pm. Find out more & subscribe.