Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Leclerc says he expected Red Bull to be quicker after putting Ferrari on pole

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc was surprised Ferrari were able to beat Red Bull to pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

He claimed the first pole position of the season by just one-tenth of a second from Max Verstappen, who headed the second and third practice sessions.

“We were pretty sure that Red Bull was going to be a bit quicker than us also in qualifying,” said Leclerc. “But a good surprise it wasn’t the case.”

Leclerc took two pole positions last year but the team was unable to win a race, and hasn’t taken a victory since 2019. He praised the team for capitalising on the opportunity offered by Formula 1’s new regulations to start the season at the front.

“It feels good,” he said. “The last few years have been incredibly difficult for the team.

“We were quite hopeful that this was an opportunity to be back in the front. I think we have worked extremely well as a team to find ourselves again in a position to fight for for better places.”

However he admitted he still isn’t completely comfortable at the wheel of his F1-75.

“It’s been a very tricky qualifying session,” said Leclerc. “I wasn’t completely happy with my driving but we managed to do that lap in Q3 and we’re starting from pole. So I’m very happy.”

“From the driving point it’s completely different compared to last year,” he explained. “Testing was very useful for this, I tried many different driving styles and still need to find the perfect one. There’s definitely much more to come, hopefully, from us.”

Heading into the first race with F1’s new technical regulations, Leclerc intends to “stay cautious.”

“Now we need to finish the weekend on a high,” he said. “Tomorrow is not going to be easy. Tyre degradation here is a thing. And especially with this increase of weight there is this year. So we need to focus on that and hopefully have a good race tomorrow.”

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2022 Bahrain 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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17 comments on “Leclerc says he expected Red Bull to be quicker after putting Ferrari on pole”

  1. Got the prediction right. Charles on Pole.
    Ferrari must keep development pace high and they have a great chance this year. Perez as always is mediocre.

    1. Wow on calling perez mediocre, for me that would be reserved to danny ric, but maybe you are an expert, or salty because of mercedes performance, specially george’s.

      1. Perez races Verstappen. That’s a high bar…

        1. It’s not just the relative performance to Verstappen though, but the relative performance that Perez put in relative to the rest of the field with the car he had at his disposal in 2021 that disappointed observers.

          By historical standard, Perez’s performances in 2021 were around that of Felipe Massa in 2010 – Perez’s average points haul per race was marginally better than that of Massa in 2010 (8.6 for Perez and 7.6 for Massa), although Massa’s points total as a percentage of Alonso’s points total was actually much better than Perez managed against Verstappen (57.1% versus 48.0% for Perez).

          In percentage terms, Perez’s figures for points scored were more similar to that of Massa in 2011 (45.9% of Alonso’s points haul that year), and many felt at the time that relative lack of performance was unacceptable from Massa (you can see so on this very site).

          Equally, even allowing for retirements, there is a perception that Perez didn’t score as many points as he should have for the car he had at his disposal, or that Norris and Sainz should have been able to put as much pressure on Perez in the WDC battle as they were able to.

          In previous years, there have certainly been those who criticised Perez, or called him an average driver at best. He was criticised for not being that much better than Kobayashi when the two were paired together at Sauber in 2012, bashed for his performances relative to Button at McLaren in 2013, and throughout his tenure at Force India from 2014 to 2016, there were several posters here who never held him in that much regard and complained that his stats against Hulkenberg were unimpressive or that they painted Perez in an overly favourable light.

          In 2017 and 2018, although he did outscore Ocon, there were still those who did not hold Perez in a particularly favourable light for what was seen as only a narrow victory – especially in light of Ocon’s subsequent performances – whilst his 2019 performances were not really given much weight in large part due to how heavily Stroll is bashed here, meaning that nobody gave any credit to Perez for beating him.

          Now, whilst I do feel that he was overly criticised for the period from 2012 through to 2019, the reason why some might call Perez mediocre is not because he’s driving against Verstappen now, but because, for the period from 2012 through to 2019, he often was painted by many posters here as being little more than an average to slightly weaker than average driver.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        19th March 2022, 17:05

        He said it best himself when talking about Bottas – “Most Hamilton critics, rate Bottas poorly because that suits their agenda.”

        Same applies here.

        1. So many oppinions will be shattered.

          One thing i sure, Bottas will get no team radio to let Lewis thrugh.

    2. Charles on pole, but tomorrow is where the points are given. Unquestionably, if you were to choose among Sainz or Leclerc in qualifying, the latter is clearly more reliable. Plus, Leclerc has had his first pole here.

      1. Seinz over a season… LeClerc for a single race.. But Verstappen for the win tomorrow.

        I hope Ferrari win first lap, and then proper racing can begin.

  2. Fine lap and he beat his teammate in the same hardware.
    Interesting start. Ferrari very often has a fast start, something the Honda lacked last year.
    I did not see much long runs by ferrari but the Rbr looked fast there. Two stop race at least so strategy will be important and that’s not always a ferrari stronghold.

    1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      19th March 2022, 17:07

      True, but Red Bull had some pretty poo tyre chages during fridays FP’s. Heard Brundle/Crofty say that they aren’t allowed to practice as much anymore, combined with entirely new wheel-nuts.

      But yeah, I expect Red Bull to do at least quite a bit better than Ferrari in the race, as well as developing the car during the year. RBR has had that experience more recently and under the budgetcap, Ferrari has made a few big missteps on that front in the last few years.

  3. As much as I admire Verstappen, I am rooting for a Ferrari win tomorrow. About time.

  4. Surprised more people aren’t complaining about the dreadful live timing graphics…

    The old graphics used to update the sector colours throughout the lap as subsequent drivers produced purple sectors.

    The new graphics don’t do that, so it now misleadingly shows several drivers at once with purple in the same sector. Makes it very difficult at a glance to see how a lap is unfolding for someone.

    1. +1000 and the sector’s colors are way to thin.

    2. It’s a mess indeed. But I have the advantage to look at wordlfeed, timing and an on board at the same time. Race control in combination with F1tv.
      But if you only see the world feed its a mess indeed.

    3. Dont worry, it’ll look great on Netflix…

    4. +1

      I guess one could say it’s some teething issues due to beginning of new year but at this level should be unacceptable

    5. Not a fan as well. Cannot fit all the racers on the same page. Actually too much graphics that you can’t see all the track

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