Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2019

Leclerc “not happy with myself” after errors on Ferrari debut

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said he was “not happy with myself” after errors during his final qualifying run for the Australian Grand Prix left him fifth on the grid for his Ferrari debut.

“I’m very disappointed in myself,” said Leclerc after qualifying 0.252 seconds slower than team mate Sebastian Vettel. In Q3 I didn’t do the job when I had to which is a shame.

“Before in Q1 and Q2 I think I did a quite good job but I didn’t reproduce it in Q3 which is a big shame. I am a little bit disappointed but I’ll work to get better and to step up for Bahrain.”

Leclerc failed to improve his lap time on his final run in qualifying and lost out to Max Verstappen as a result.

“I locked up in the first corner and in the last two corners I also lost completely the rears,” he said. “Just my fault.”

However he doubted Ferrari were quick enough to beat Mercedes, who locked out the front row of the grid after lapping seven-tenths of a second faster.

“They are pretty quick,” he admitted. “We did not expect them to be so quick in qualifying. We will work from there and hopefully a good start and a good race tomorrow.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Leclerc “not happy with myself” after errors on Ferrari debut”

  1. Very likable guy. Great attitude, too.

    1. indeed, talent and humility are a good combination. Hopefully he’ll discover how to trim that extra time

    2. It’s a refreshing change to hear a young driver who’s willing to admit when there is room for entitlement, compared to some who have a sense of entitlement and can’t learn from mistakes as they never make any. I hope this is a good sign for his future – I look forward to seeing how things develop this year between Leclerc and Vettel.

    3. True, complete opposite attitude of his teammate who has already started blaming the car (and engineers who worked hard to build that car.) and throw the team under the bus. Not sure why this team is licking rearside of that overglorified “world champion”.

    4. Second season, first quali with the team, and he’s disappointed with himself for losing two tenths to a four times WDC. Can’t wait to see what happens when he’s happy with himself!

  2. I’m just going to say it… as it seems I’m the only one with this opinion….
    I don’t get the fuss surrounding Leclerc. No doubt the guy has talent and he is still very young. I just don’t see what others see. He makes a lot of mistakes, to be expected somewhat for a driver in only his second year, and he struggled at times last year against Erricson. The way he is talked up you would think he had burst on to the scene al a Hamilton 2007 and he just hasn’t.
    Ferrari are surely a better judge than I on such matters but in my own humble opinion he hasn’t lived up to the hype surrounding him. He is not a touch on Verstappen for instance (for the record I have zero love for Verstappen) but hey no…what do I know.

    1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
      16th March 2019, 16:26

      I think Leclerc is a great talent but not in the level of Verstappen. Both Vettel and Hamilton did wonders in the start of their careers and so has Max. I think Charles got a lot of hype surrounding him for three reasons. First, Sauber had a great car which allowed him to fight for Q3 and points something that Wehrlein couldn’t do in 2017 for instance, Ericsson wasn’t much of a challenge to be honest. Second, he has a tragic past, his father passed away, and he is the heir to Jules. Third, Seb did mistakes last season and led many to believe he was the savior of Ferrari.
      Nonetheless, he is a rather talented young driver. I didn’t expect him to beat Vettel and I think 2.5 tenths is a solid difference against a 4 time world champion and the 2nd best qualifier on the grid.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      16th March 2019, 16:30

      I think I would say he had a better rookie season than Verstappen, but Verstappen improved from that so quickly and now is extremely good. Ericsson was not a good benchmark and one of Ericsson’s weaknesses was in the wet. Never finished a full distance wet race until last year. Then ever rain effected session, he was better than Leclerc. I don’t understand why so many seemed to forget Leclerc’s 2nd part of the race in Germany. It was terrible. Only retiring was worse than that. He was spun and saved it, fair enough that was a good save, but then went wide and ran in the gravel ruining his pace. He fell over 60 seconds behind Vandoorne if i remember correctly while Ericsson was running in the points overtaking cars that normally would have had better pace than the Sauber.

      Overall, it was a very good season indeed, especially for a rookie, but people expecting him to be really close or beat Vettel are incredibly optomistic. I think he will be no better than kimi was against Vettel for a good chunk of the season, but do expect him to improve.

      1. Ok…maybe I’m not the only that thinks this then. I may not be as Ill informed as I was suspecting I may be.
        Just to clarify… He is absolutely the type of talent we want to see coming through in F1. I just think he’s over hyped.

    3. Amazing. The guy has a solid 2018 season and has qualified a grand total of one race this year and critics are making bold negative claims.
      Give it some time boys – the first race hasn’t been run yet. He could win tomorrow for all we know.

      1. Ken… I was actually basing my opinion on last year. Hey ho.. seems Ferrari don’t agree with me.

    4. The ignorance of some people never ceases to amaze me.

      1. Why does that make me ignorant Walt?
        I quite clearly said I am probably the only person that thinks this. Just my opinion…burn me at the stake if it helps

  3. Welcome to the big league Leclerc. Its easier to shine when racing Ericssons, Kvyats, Perezs of the grid but difficult job against the big sharks like Hamilton, Vettel, Max.
    Hope he delivers and we have an amazing competitive season.

  4. He’s filling in for Kimi quite nicely already!

    Nailed Q1, nailed Q2….

    And throw away the lap(s) that really count in Q3!

    I’m just giving him a hard time of course! Just goes to show the talent he has that it’s even a talking point to finish less than 3 tenths off a 4-time world champion on your debut with the team.

    1. When the whole field is only separated by 1 sec? Meh

    2. He’s filling in for Kimi quite nicely already!

      Nailed Q1, nailed Q2….

      And throw away the lap(s) that really count in Q3!

      Hilarious and true at the same time. A lot of F1 pundits did say that Leclerc’s potential weakness was stringing together the perfect lap in Q3. At Sauber, he used to nail the different sectors on different quali laps, but not always in the last lap in Q3.

      Anyways, it’s a little refreshing to see a driver put his hand up and admit that he underperformed instead of blaming it on the car or his rivals.

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