Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monza, 2019

Leclerc: Qualifying chaos “definitely not intentional” by Ferrari

2019 Italian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc has rejected Lewis Hamilton’s claim that Ferrari deliberately held up their rivals in qualifying to “time everyone out” and prevent them setting a time.

Eight of the nine drivers who ran at the end of Q3 failed to start their final laps in time, including Leclerc and team mate Sebastian Vettel. Leclerc, who’d set the fastest time up to that point, took pole position.

He denied the situation had been planned by Ferrari. Leclerc said the problem was caused by drivers wanting to get a slipstream from a car ahead, and claimed it was particularly bad at Monza and Spa.

“I think today was special, was definitely not intentional from our side,” he said. “Obviously there was also Seb that was capable of having the pole position and we obviously didn’t want to sacrifice one car for the pole [over] the other so it was quite tricky.

“I definitely think that situations like after the second corner shouldn’t happen when there are two cars side-by-side they cannot go at 20kph. We couldn’t pass them. I think most of the drivers behind wanted to pass but didn’t have the opportunity. So this situation has made a big mess towards the end and that’s why so many cars didn’t make it to start their laps.”

After qualifying Vettel complained Leclerc had failed to take up his correct position in front of him in the queue during the final run. Leclerc explained why.

“To be completely honest the plan was that in the first run Seb was giving me the tow, in the second run I will give him the tow,” he said. “So I actually went out of the box in front of him.

“Then there was the huge mess after turn one and two. The McLaren and a Renault, I don’t know whoever that was, they stopped in the middle of the track and we had nowhere to go.

“Seb overtook me there with the mess because obviously we were aware we were quite tight on time. And then I stayed basically behind Seb until the last straight when I heard also on the radio ‘you can overtake Seb’.

“So that’s why I overtook him. But then I had no time for me either to start the lap. It was a shame but I don’t think I could have done much more.”

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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...
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  • 20 comments on “Leclerc: Qualifying chaos “definitely not intentional” by Ferrari”

    1. Eight of the nine drivers who ran at the end of Q3 failed to start their final laps in time, including Leclerc

      Leclerc made the chequered flag in time, didn’t he? He just chose to abandon it once he realized (or was informed) there was no one else threatening his time.

      1. @phylyp Yes, he indeed did make it over the timing line before the time ran out, and even though there was no one threatening him anymore, he still should’ve finished the lap to try and improve on his earlier run.

        1. @jerejj – Thank you for confirming that.

          However, why would he want to improve? They make their Q3 runs with the party mode on, and each engine has a limited runtime on the party mode in it’s lifespan*. So why give it up? Rather, save it for the future.

          * With your recall, you’ll know the specifics of this better than me… but I remember Stroll accidentally overused his party mode setting in some practice session in 2018, meaning he couldn’t use it again on that engine for the rest of it’s lifespan.

          1. @phylyp To try and beat the outright track record given he was only less two tenths away from it.

            1. @phylyp ‘less than’

            2. @jerejj – ah, ok. Fair point.

        2. Even though he had chance to take lap record the fact that he slowed down on that last lap means he did on purpose slow down other cars to the line.

          1. Not really, it just means they didn’t want to strain the engine unnecessarily unless they had to defend pole, you see he pushed for the first part of the lap, till he was informed there was no point.

    2. I will channel my Juan Pablo Montoya

      “You either have to be blind or stupid” not to see that

      Problem was with Hulk, Sainz and Stroll

      1. I think it’s wrong to blame specific drivers here… each driver had a chance somewhere around the track to make a decisive move.

        1. Yeah, I agree. Maybe specific drivers started the whole chain, but other drivers were trying to be self-serving by not wanting to take an opening too soon. And it came back to bite them. Good.

      2. Initiated by those 3 and supported by goons of local Mafia.

      3. What a Mucking Fuddle… all this because of this presumed advantage of slip streaming.

        They should ban this assistance by having the driver start like most timed qualifying, with a set time distance between the drivers. Two groups of five. Fastest drivers from the last round, lead out first.

    3. Might be time for the top ten to have a one lap shoot out.

      1. Do you remember how boring that was? Pepperidge farm here remembers.

        1. I still remember the hour long qualifying session where nothing happened until the last 5 minutes.

          1. Is this any better? I don’t watch qualifying because there’s usually nothing to see.

      2. That is the only alternative qualifying I would be interested in.
        Preceded by some 20-30 minutes of free run to set the one lap outing order.

    4. Well, that’s a neat explanation, though I don’t quite buy the part where he explains why he had to let Vettel past, and then I think, that given Sainz was over the line in good time, he also leaves out some of how he only just made it, but Vettel not. I suppose that’s covered in the

      Obviously there was also Seb that was capable of having the pole position and we obviously didn’t want to sacrifice one car for the pole [over] the other so it was quite tricky

      bit though. If he wins the race, I definitely think he’s my DotW for how he did today :)

    Comments are closed.