Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies Expecting Six-Way Fight for Abu Dhabi Victory on Sunday

Laurent Mekies is expecting a six-car battle at the front of the field during Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season draws to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Scuderia Ferrari will line-up with both cars on the second row on Sunday, with Charles Leclerc third just ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.  Both were behind the two Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, but ahead of both the two Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Ferrari’s Racing Director felt the team did the best they could in Qualifying trim, with Mekies praising the work those track side and back at their Maranello factory did overnight to improve the F1-75.

“We’re reasonably pleased with how qualifying went,” said Mekies.  “I think the team has made a step forward since yesterday, when we weren’t completely happy with the car’s handling.

“Here at the track and back in Maranello, we worked on fine tuning the set-up and on extracting a touch more performance from the car.

“Out on track, Charles and Carlos gave their best and improved their performance lap by lap, executing this session in a solid way. That resulted in us locking out the second row, with Charles within a whisker of Perez’s time.

Mekies said he expects Ferrari to contend for the race victory on Sunday, although he also expects Red Bull and Mercedes to be in the fight.  And he hopes Ferrari can get their tyre management right so they can take the advantages when they present themselves.

“It’s a decent starting position for tomorrow’s race, but we know Red Bull and Mercedes will have a very strong pace,” he reckoned.  “We can expect a close six-way fight, and tyre management will likely be a key factor again.

“That could present opportunities and we will try to make the most of them.”