Australian GP | Charles Leclerc P7 in qualifying, admits he “wasn’t driving well”

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Photo: Scuderia Ferrari

Coming into this weekend Ferrari knew the chances of a repeated performance at Albert Park from 12 months ago wasn’t on the cards. Cast your mind back then and Leclerc was on pole by just under 3 tenths of a second and went on to win the race in dominant fashion. Fast-forward to today and the outcome was a whole lot different for the Monegasque driver.

Leclerc clocked a 1:17.369 in his Ferrari to put him in P7. Being over 6 tenths away from pole is a bitter pill to swallow for the scuderia given Leclerc’s team mate Sainz could only manage a tenth better to line up in P5.

Leclerc spoke after the session how he wasn’t happy with his performance in Q1 and Q2. “Q1 and Q2, clearly, I wasn’t on it. I wasn’t driving well. I wasn’t putting everything together, so that was my fault,” he says.

In Q3 Leclerc was less self-critical and spoke of the possible “miscommunication” with his Spanish teammate. Sainz was in front of him when he started his push lap, and he sarcastically thanked his teammate for holding him up through turns 3 and 4 after qualifying.

“Q3, I managed to fare a bit better. In the car, I was quite confident I could put everything together,” he stated.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened in the second run of Q3, whether it was a miscommunication with Carlos or whatever. But I found myself behind him for the whole first sector, which wasn’t great. We’ll speak at the debrief about that to try and improve those situations.”

However Leclerc also stressed that he takes positives away from today and says his Ferrari had 0.2 to 0.3 tenths of a seconds in it if he was able to put it all together.

“I wouldn’t panic in a way of today. I think two, three tenths. I just needed to drive better. The car wasn’t that bad. The feeling was actually quite good. Part of the changes we’ve done this weekend was to make the race pace better.”

This two to thee tenths would have put Leclerc on the second row of the grid and in a much better position to fight for the podium given their expected similar race pace to the Mercedes and Aston Martin cars around him.

“Tomorrow we’ll see what we can do during the race. It won’t be an easy one, but we will try to move up from our grid positions and bring home a good result.”