The classification of the Austrian Grand Prix lived a Q3 without the presence of Ferrari in the contest for the top 10 positions.
Both cars were eliminated at the end of Q2 by a stroke of luck from Valtteri Bottas and, above all, by the unexpected performance of the Williams George Russell, who surpassed the SF21 for just a few thousandths.
However, what caused a stir was the fact that Russell was able to do better than the two of them. Ferrari, having used in Q2 the same type of tire compound that Ferrari had chosen, that is, the medium (C4 this weekend).
Russell, with a superlative lap at the checkered flag, eliminated Sainz, while Leclerc had already been eliminated moments before by Bottas. It was a disappointing result on paper for the Ferraris, but at the end of qualifying Leclerc said the situation was different than it appeared.
Charles was apparently calm in the press area, explaining that the failure of the Ferrari in Q2 was expected and agreed with the team to have the opportunity to start tomorrow with the medium compounds, the most suitable for the single race strategy. stop before switching to the hard ones for the second and last stint.
However, what surprised the Maranello team was the performance of Williams. Without Russell’s excellent time on medium tires, at least one of the two Ferraris would have made it to Q3 after qualifying on medium tires, but in the end it was not.
“An elimination put on the table? Yes … but at the same time no,” Leclerc frankly admitted. “Yes, because we expected to be eliminated at the end of the second group. But coming out behind a Williams is a little less expected, especially since Russell qualified on medium tires. But other than that we expected to be out of Q3 today.”
Leclerc added that Ferrari’s thoughtful strategy to start tomorrow’s race on medium tires was something they deliberated in advance.
“We talk a lot about this classification and that was the strategy from the beginning,” concluded the Monegasque, who will start the Austrian GP from the sixth row, in 12th position with his teammate Carlos Sainz.