The Dutchman reopens the world championship challenge with the seven-time champion Sainz is fifth, Leclerc seventh: “Fighting with McLarens”
le castellet (france)
A pole of applause that ignites the challenge with Lewis Hamilton for the 2021 Formula 1 title. Max Verstappen leaves his mark at Paul Ricard where he puts everyone in line including the world champion who will have to settle for second position on the starting grid of a GP of France that promises entertainment. Second row for the numbers two of Red Bull and Stella d’Argendo with Valtteri Bottas in front of Sergio Pérez, then the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz who for the second time beats in qualifying his teammate Charles Leclerc who will start from seventh place.
A Saturday as a protagonist for Sainz, who up to 1 ‘from the end of Q3 of the French GP was in third position. Then Red Bull and Mercedes asserted the superiority of their cars, and so the Spaniard was satisfied with fifth position on the starting grid. «Do you move forward on fast corners? We are working on this aspect – explains the Spaniard of the Maranello house – but it doesn’t happen from one race to the next. In every race we try a different thing to grow in the right direction. Sometimes we will go wrong and go back, in others we will find improvements. Yesterday the race pace was not bad, in fact it was quite good. Sure, he’s far from the top four, but that wasn’t a problem. So who should Ferrari race on? Ahead they are far away; however if something happens I will try, as always. But the race will be with Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc and the McLarens ».
For the second time this season Leclerc was slower than Sainz in qualifying. After two consecutive pole positions in Monaco and Baku, the Monegasque in France was slower than Sainz from the third free practice.
«At the end of the lap in Q3 – says Leclerc – I was quite happy despite the position, because I know I put everything I had in that lap. I really struggled to drive with this understeer that we had. Carlos did a great job riding much better than me in those conditions there. In the end, it’s not a bad day for the team. Fifth and seventh is not too bad, we are fighting with those we really struggle with, which is the McLarens. But after Friday I expected more », concludes the Monegasque from Ferrari.
Ahead Verstappen is preparing for the battle with Hamilton right from the green light: «So far it has been a highly positive weekend on a track where we have had so many difficulties in the past. In PL2 we have given a turning point, we have improved even today and taking pole position is really nice. Points are not awarded on Saturday, but – underlines the Dutch Red Bull driver – it was a great day. We must close the work in the race, trying to bring home 25 points: those lost in Baku. But this performance is very promising, we hope to continue like this. Race? I’m confident, the car went well in free practice, so we can’t wait ». –
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