Leclerc Reveals Ferrari Intentionally Tanked at Austrian GP Qualifying

Published 07/03/2021, 1:22 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 19, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during a press conference ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix Pool via REUTERS/Sebastien Nogier

In what came as disappointing news for the Tifosi after seeing Ferrari gradually improve over the past few weeks, neither of their drivers made it into Q3 at the qualifying for the Austrian GP. And while Charles Leclerc is disappointed he didn’t make it into the top, he’s not too upset – for it’s part of the team’s plan.


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According to the rules of the sport, drivers who make it into Q3 have to begin Sunday’s race on the same tire compounds. Those who only make it till Q2, however, get to choose which tire compounds they want to start the race with. And it seems that this is the rule Ferrari is playing on.

According to the Monegasque, Ferrari intentionally tanked the qualifying so they could have free tire choice for Sunday’s race.


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So, even though Sainz and Leclerc find themselves starting in eleventh and twelfth, respectively, they have tire availability in their hands. And the Maranello-based squad know they can make their up the grid.

Charles Leclerc understands Ferrari’s game plan for not getting into Q3

Speaking to Sky Sports on why they didn’t make it into Q3, Leclerc revealed, “It was kind of the plan to not go into Q3 to be honest because we wanted to have a free choice for tomorrow. But on the other hand, I am a bit disappointed.”

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during practice REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

The Red team know the gamble is a huge risk as it can go horribly wrong. However, with the pace Leclerc and Sainz have, Ferrari believe that the long shot will pay off.

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Will the gamble pay off for the Scuderia?

Sainz and Leclerc started the weekend with great pace in FP1 on Friday as they finished third and second respectively. But in FP2 a different story was told as Sainz came thirteenth and Leclerc was down in sixteenth.

However, they did redeem themselves in FP3; Carlos found himself in sixth on the timesheet while Leclerc had to settle for ninth. Hence, looking at the performance they had over the weekend, the Scuderia wanted to take the risk and purposely failed to qualify into Q3.


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Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during qualifying REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

The freedom to choose any set of tires might answer the prayers of the Italian team as they look to score maximum points from the Austrian Grand Prix.

Will the Leclerc and Sainz have an easy battle on Sunday or will the plan backfire and they will fail to achieve the results they wanted to at the Red Bull Ring? What are your predictions for the Ferrari on Sunday? Let us know in the comments below.


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Arpit Gomes

631 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.