2018 Formula One Heineken Brazilian Grand Prix – Qualifying – Saturday
Impressive double Q3 finish for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team with Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc finishing at the top of the midfield
Weather: FP3: sunny/cloudy and dry, 24-25°C air, 32-40°C track; Qualifying: cloudy and dry/rainy, 21-24°C air, 31-42°C track
Spectators saw a fantastic qualifying unfold for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team at Interlagos, with another double Q3 finish placing Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc in P7 and P8 respectively, securing their spots on top of the midfield. This achievement is a result of a great group effort, with the team and both of the drivers having extracted their maximum potential.
The day started with an FP3 that saw the team finalise their preparations ahead of the qualifying session at the challenging race track in Sao Paulo. With rain in sight, the team prepared their strategy for the unpredictable weather conditions that lay ahead of them.
A dry Q1 saw Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc put in strong performances, however, phases of light rain at the beginning of Q2 added a twist to the plot. While Marcus Ericsson had already secured his entry into Q3 and stayed in the garage as the rain continued to come down, Charles Leclerc faced a different set of challenges.
The rookie put in a stunning performance in the last minutes of Q2. Determined to advance to Q3, despite being in 11th place, he exited the pits on used tyres and in the rain and gave everything he had during a final attempt to fight for a grid position in the top ten. Leclerc achieved his goal and joined Ericsson for the final round of qualifying.
With the threat of rain always there, the drivers set out to complete their final qualifying laps ahead of tomorrow’s race, eager to position themselves as far forward as possible. Marcus Ericsson delivered an excellent performance throughout, and finally qualified in 7th, celebrating his best career qualifying, while Charles Leclerc finished the session in 8th place.
Marcus Ericsson (car number 9):
C37 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
Qualifying:7th in Q3 (1:08.296 / supersoft tyres)
3rd practice: 13th (1:09.808 / supersoft tyres / 23 laps)
“It was a great day for us as a team, with both cars at the top of the midfield – a super performance. I am happy for the whole team and, as for myself, this is the best qualifying I have had in Formula One. I managed to improve in every segment, even in these tricky conditions, and didn’t make any mistakes. The car felt good and it is just great to deliver such a result for the team. With Charles just behind we have great starting positions for tomorrow, and I look forward to the race where we will aim to score some good points.”
Charles Leclerc (car number 16):
C37 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
Qualifying: 8th in Q3 (1:08.492 / supersoft tyres)
3rd practice: 10th (1:09.448 / supersoft tyres / 21 laps)
“What an amazing day for the team. Qualifying as best of the rest, with both cars having such strong results is an incredible achievement that we should all be proud of. I was very happy with my lap at the end of Q2, a bit less in Q3. Marcus did an incredible job today, and well done to him.”