Who knows why the Ferrari they always love to keep a very low profile, as if the team does not begin to “breathe” the air of a structure that is working hard to return to being a top team not only in the coat of arms, in investments and in drivers, but also in results.
Charles Leclerc led the SF21 to the second row at the conclusion of the qualifying for the Turkish GP: with fourth place at the checkered flag and third on the starting grid for the penalty of Lewis Hamilton, the Monegasque has approached the redhead among the greats who seemed unattainable at the beginning of the year.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, with Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG
Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
Certainly the gap in time from Hamilton, the author of the best performance (1’22 “868, new track record), because the pole went to Valtteri Bottas (it’s a scandal!) is 397 thousandths, a sign that there is still something to do, but the feeling is that the Scuderia has not been able to extract one hundred percent of the potential from the qualification and certainly not because of Leclerc who has put his to climb in the second row?
So? The Cavallino technicians bet on the dry race, deciding an aerodynamically unloaded car, certainly challenging to drive on the slippery asphalt at the start of qualifying and which then in Q3 still struggled to send the tires in the right temperature window.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
The detachment from Max Verstappen of only 69 thousandths of a second it materialized in T1, but then the Ferrari seemed faster than the Red Bull RB16B (not as brilliant as ever) and there was a real chance to stay ahead of the Dutch.
Do you want a counter proof? Just analyze the comparison of Charles’ best lap with Hamilton’s record: the Englishman trimmed Ferrari 252 thousandths of the 397 totaled in the first sector, limiting the gap in the remaining two to just over a tenth.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21 with a lighter spoon rear wing
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
The strategic choice of unloaded aerodynamics (in the rear there was the spoon wing) may have cost something in the changing track conditions (where the SF21 does not excel, indeed), but it can give great results in the race, considering that Max will be forced to start on the dirty part of the track and Charles will have the benefit of being on the better side.
But having made these necessary premises, the graphs show us something else: the Rossa once a cinderella of top speeds with the 4 engine manages to rival nothing less than with the Mercedes of Hamilton who fielded a brand new 6-cylinder in Istanbul because the previous one had lost 22 horsepower during its existence.
Ferrari SF21, detail of Charles Leclerc’s 4 engine equipped with the new hybrid system
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
And since Enrico Gualtieri’s engineers have not touched the endothermic unit which is frozen, the positive feedback comes from the new hybrid that works at high voltage (800 volts against the previous 400) and from the new battery of SAPS, the French company. American supplier of the Cavallino which has introduced an innovative technology that improves recharging and allows weight savings.
As we had highlighted after free practice, Leclerc’s SF21 was not equipped with the 4 engine, but to save kilometers of the fresh one, a rotation power unit was used that did not have the new hybrid. And the difference was seen in qualifying, where the “clipping” seen on Friday at the end of the longest straights practically disappeared.
At Maranello they minimized the increase in power derived from the new hybrid (it does not reach a dozen horses), but they did not say that the time of use of the over 160 electric horses increased significantly over the course of the lap.
And in the statements of the drivers, in particular Carlos Sainz, who is testing the new hybrid for the first time on the track, the embarrassment emerged in not being able to say anything more than a solution that is clearly improving. In fact, the silences of the words were matched by mischievous glances and pleased smiles.
We will find out in the afternoon what the real value of the Red is, especially since we have the sincere suspicion that the plant that debuted with Leclerc in Sochi was not being used at full capacity …