Vettel: Clean qualifying will be crucial

Jamie Woodhouse
Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel says a clean qualifying will be key at the Russian Grand Prix with little between the drivers.

Sebastian Vettel says it will be important to pump in clean laps during qualifying for the Russian GP with the field bunched up.

After struggling to match his team-mate Charles Leclerc in recent rounds Vettel was able to put in an improved showing during Friday practice ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.

He finished the opening session in P9, over half a second up on Leclerc, though by the end of FP2 Leclerc had wrestled back the advantage with Vettel needing to find 0.131s on his team-mate.

Currently P13 in the Drivers’ Championship, a weekend like this where the pack behind Mercedes is so tight presents a four-time World Champion like Vettel with the perfect opportunity to get some points on the board.

But before he can start thinking about that, first Vettel stressed the importance of putting some clean laps together in qualifying.

At the end of FP2 half a second separated Daniel Ricciardo in P3 and Leclerc in P8.

“This was not such a bad Friday and our car seemed to perform a bit better than in recent races,” Vettel told the Ferrari website.

“There is still room to improve and find more lap time. However, leaving aside the top two in the standings, you can see this was a decent day for us.

“Qualifying will be very tight tomorrow and it is not easy to put everything together on one lap. Therefore, it will be very important to put in clean laps without any mistakes and with everything running smoothly.”

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Off the track former Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali was named the new president and CEO of Formula 1, a role which he will take up from January 1 2021 with current CEO of the Formula One Group Chase Carey then set to take up a non-executive role.

Current Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto was keen to praise the choice of Domenicali as Carey’s successor, but also stressed just how well Carey has performed in his role at the head of Formula 1.

“This is an important day for our sport, with the announcement from Liberty Media that Stefano Domenicali will take on the role of President and CEO of Formula 1,” he said.

“On behalf of Ferrari, I would first like to thank Chase Carey. There have been many positive changes made to the sport under his leadership, in particular the promoter’s relationship with the teams.

“Very important decisions have been taken concerning the future of Formula 1, such as the new Concorde Agreement and the creation of an operational structure that will help the sport grow in terms of its audience and its appeal to the youngers generations. And let’s not forget that Formula 1 has managed to put on a World Championship this year under very difficult circumstances.

“We very much appreciate the fact that continuity is assured as Chase stays on as the non-executive Chairman of Formula 1.

“We are very pleased that Chase’s role will be entrusted to Stefano as from 1st January. His talents as a manager and especially his knowledge of the sport, combined with his experience and personal qualities, make him the ideal choice to carry on Chase’s reforms.

“Personally, it will be a pleasure for me to work with a good friend, as we came through the ranks at Ferrari together. I look forward to working along with all the other stakeholders in this sport and with him to make Formula 1 even stronger and more spectacular.”

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