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Mekies explains Ferrari’s Q3 strategy

Charles Leclerc at the Sao Paulo GP. Credits: @ScuderiaFerrari (Twitter)

Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies explained their tire strategy in the final segment of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Weather conditions proved to be a crucial factor during Friday’s qualifying at Interlagos. The teams were expecting rain throughout the session. Nevertheless, the track was dry, and slick tires were the preferred option.

Ahead of Q3, dark clouds surrounded the track, but Leclerc was the only driver on the Intermediate tires. However, the gamble did not pay off, and the Monegasque returned to the pits to change tires. The session was eventually red-flagged after George Russell had beached in the gravel.

When Q3 resumed, heavy rain had begun which did not allow the drivers to set competitive lap times. As a result, Leclerc ended qualifying in P10 without a lap time.

After the session, Mekies explained Ferrari’s approach to tire choice in Q3.

“It was a difficult qualifying as it was very, very intense for all teams, it was the sort of qualifying where you need to make a lot of calls,” he said.

“Some of the ones we made worked, some of them worked less.

“It is frustrating as we got both cars into Q3, and then we were confronted with a choice.

“On one side, you have the track still being dry, and there is the golden rule that says you should go on the track when it is dry.

“On the other side, we were expecting heavy rain imminently, and we split out cars.

“Depending on the exact timing of the rain, you’re going to have one happy and one unhappy [driver].

“That is exactly what happened.

“The rain came probably a minute or two late for Charles, and it was the right timing for Carlos [Sainz].

“It is what it is with Carlos P5 and Charles P10.”

Mekies believes that Ferrari will learn a lesson from Friday’s events.

“We have had many, many good qualifying [sessions] this year, including in very tricky conditions like today [on Friday].

“There’s always a lot to learn about the right decisions you made and the less right ones.

“Certainly, it is something that we have taken the good habits from to analyze in detail with the team and drivers to pull together as a group.

“For sure we will use today to make another step together.”

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