Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Leclerc made “huge step” after studying Gasly’s onboard camera

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc revealed he discovered how to improve his racing line around the Bahrain Outer circuit by studying Pierre Gasly’s onboard camera.

The Ferrari driver equalled his best qualifying performance of the season so far by taking fourth place on the grid.

He was reluctant to describe his effort as a “perfect lap”, but admitted he’d improved in all the areas he intended to when he left the pits for his only run on new tyres during Q3.

“I was scared because I braked very, very late into the first corner but managed to make the corner anyway and had a very good exit too,” he told Sky. “I think I got a snap in turn four and then I thought ‘oh my god, I don’t know if the tyres are going to last until the end of the lap’.”

Leclerc said he picked up a lot of time at the entry to turn seven by taking more of the kerb, having noticed Gasly doing the same.

“I was very quick there, I did such a huge step from final practice to quali there in terms of driving, using a lot more the track in entry on the kerb on the right, looking at Pierre Gasly’s onboard actually after final practice. So thanks Pierre.”

“The last corner, which I’ve been struggling with during the whole quali, I finally managed to do it well also in my last lap. So I’m extremely happy.”

Despite only having one set of fresh tyres for qualifying, Leclerc opted to run immediately at the start of the session, instead of waiting for the track to improve towards the end of Q3.

“I took the decision to go early in the session instead of waiting to the end of the session for two reasons. First, I was expecting the traffic to be a mess at the end of the session. And second I just had the ideas clear and I just wanted to get out on track and do the job. Which we did.

“To be honest I don’t think I could have done anything better going later in the session. So I’m really happy about today.”

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2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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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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25 comments on “Leclerc made “huge step” after studying Gasly’s onboard camera”

  1. He used up all his tires so there was not much to improve with.
    Nice to see a Ferrari on the front row. They do need these incentives.

    1. erikje, whilst his performance was a real surprise, unless the circuit has a radical redesign of its grid slots overnight, 4th is generally not considered to be part of the front row…

    2. So that would be the alternate front row erikje?

  2. The new front row must be after the Mercedes row.

    1. It is a bike racing front row.

  3. That was one hell of a lap by Charles! He managed to improve by 0.2 sec between Q2 and Q3, while his rivals (RPs, ATs, Ricciardo and Sainz) barely improved their time or even went slower than they did previously.
    Though I haven’t got high hopes for the race. I fear he will just get swallowed on the main straight tomorrow. Hopefully, he can at least score a couple of points, but I’m not very optimistic.

    1. Yup, he said it himself as well @srga91, they go better on the saturdays than they go on the sundays. I think he will be gunning for p6-10 for the race probably.

  4. This seems a little fishy to me! Gasly is his pal. RB dont have their second seat filled yet…? 2+2 = 4? Or 5?
    Might be my Suspicious nature?

    1. @deanr I don’t think so.

  5. Certainly one of the surprises of qualifying. Great lap, and I would not have thought to see a Ferrari so high up the order, especially after Friday’s sessions.

    1. He certainly used everything.

    2. It is great to see driver making a difference to the time. We haven’t seen that so often in a couple of years now.

  6. Geez what a Quali for Leclerc. Considering where his car should be and where he qualified in… Just amazing.

    To bad he faces an uphill struggle tomorrow.

  7. wow nice to know he actually learn from someone else, i thought f1 drivers didnt like to let people know this kind of stuff.

    1. New breed of drivers. George spoke about the advice he gets from Ham a few races ago on tyre management, and Gasly mention after Monza that he, LeClerc and Ham who have their own Call of Duty team swop tips online. Max and Norris compare notes on twitch and there seems to be a lot more swopping notes in the cool down room and top three interviews than before. I suppose with so much info now available online, there’s not much point hiding it.

  8. Nearly everyone was cutting accross turn 8? The gentle right-hander but it seemed staying on the track was actually faster as Gasly was doing.

    1. @david-beau They weren’t corner-cutting, only exiting wide, which is different. There’s a little orange object to physically prevent cutting beyond the apex curb.

  9. Very fun to see a driver nail a lap to such a degree that he just gets out of the car and sees no need to continue the session..

    1. Exactly the same thought, he walked out and still stayed top 4, what a confidence.

    2. He didn’t have any more soft tires left

    3. @balue Like Turch said, he just couldn’t improve anymore since he had no more new tyres left.

  10. He had russel chance, he is one second ahead of all !

    Great Lap

  11. Gasly was slower than his team mate all of this weekend though.

  12. Just shows that Leclerc still has a lot to learn still and that indeed the driver can make the difference.

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