Charles Leclerc: “We will work together to put pressure on our competitors”

Charles Leclerc reckoned third place on the grid for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the best result Scuderia Ferrari could have hoped for on Saturday, with Oracle Red Bull Racing just too far ahead of them over a single lap.

Leclerc jumped up to second late in Q3 but was relegated back to third when Sergio Pérez jumped up to join his team-mate Max Verstappen on the front row, with the Monegasque driver struggling with overheating tyres in the final sector that cost him valuable lap time.

Nevertheless, with Ferrari locking out the second row of the grid, Leclerc hopes they will be able to put pressure on Red Bull and end the year with a victory, something that has been hard to come by in the second half of the season.

“P3 is the best we could do today,” said Leclerc.  “It was quite a tricky qualifying, especially in terms of tyre management, as is usually the case in Abu Dhabi, with the rear tyres overheating in the final sector.

“With Carlos starting right behind me, we will work together to put pressure on our competitors ahead and aim to finish the season on a high.”

“I’m not entirely happy with my last attempt in Q3” – Carlos Sainz Jr.

Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. will line-up alongside Leclerc in fourth place, with the Spaniard ‘not entirely happy’ with his final lap after traffic on his out-lap cost him some tyre temperature going into his lap.

Sainz had been second after the first runs at the Yas Marina Circuit but the compromised start to his lap meant he dropped to fourth, but from there and with a car he feels good, he hopes to move forward and fight for the podium on Sunday.

“It was a solid qualifying for the team today as we made a step forward on pace and car setup,” Sainz said.  “I’m not entirely happy with my last attempt in Q3 as the traffic on the out-lap compromised getting everything up to temperature and I didn’t put a great lap together.

“However, I’m happy with the feeling in the car and I think we’re in a good position for tomorrow. There are still many points to fight for and we’ll push until the end.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. will start fourth in the final race of the season – Credit: Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office