Leclerc: Good to stop “talks” of recent qualifying slump with front row for F1 Sprint in Miami

Photo Credits: Scuderia Ferrari
Spread the love

After missing the entirety of the first – and only – practice session in Miami due to a spin exiting turn 16 after hitting the kerb hard and losing control of his Ferrari. The tight space between the walls meant he couldn’t do a 360-turn, and the long time in which he was stopped overheated his clutch and meant he was unable to take any further part in the session.

The Monegasque was thus tasked with going straight into Sprint Qualifying with no real knowledge of how his SF-24 would handle around the Miami circuit and the behaviour of the tyres around such a variety of corners. But the 5-time grand prix winner did that masterfully, claiming an impressive P2 on the grid for the Sprint, just over a tenth of a second behind Max Verstappen.

Speaking after the session, Leclerc explained how the work that’s been done regarding tyre preparation on the out laps have “paid off” in Miami, after his recent qualifying slump which saw him struggle to match the pace of his in-form team-mate Carlos Sainz:

“Yeah, I am,” he said when asked if he was pleased with his performance. “I am because qualifying has been the weak point for two races in a row at one point.

“China was a little bit better but we didn’t have the car to actually show that.

“[Now] on such a difficult weekend because obviously I did [only] one lap in FP1, so I had to go in quali and go straight away flat out. We are only allowed to use one set of [medium] tyres in SQ1, so it was very, very tricky.

“But straight away I felt the feeling, and the hard work that I’ve done earlier in the season to try and put the tyres in the right window have paid off.”

The Monegasque was also keen to emphasize how his performance is a timely reminder of what he’s capable of, given the recent talks from some sections of the media even questioning his mental space during his difficult spell at the start of the 2024 season:

“So I’m happy, because there are so many talks now and you are as good as your last race in this sport.

“Obviously when you have two races in a row where you are bad in qualifying, which I haven’t done a great job, people start to talk, so it’s good to stop that.

“But now I obviously need to work in the consistency and try to stay at that level and put those tyres consistently in the right window as I’ve done in the past.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the weekend, he admits there’s not much knowledge to go on from in his side of the garage due to his lack of running, but is hopeful that the Scuderia can show some pace and fight Verstappen for both wins:

“P1? I have no idea about our race pace, I did one lap again so I have no idea about our race pace but I really hope we can have a good sprint and have a good race pace to have hopes for the win on Sunday.”