Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2022

Leclerc surprised to take pole at track where he has “struggled”

2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc admitted he was “surprised” by Ferrari’s pace in qualifying after taking pole position for the Australian Grand Prix by almost three tenths over Max Verstappen.

Leclerc claimed the top spot in qualifying on his final lap, becoming the only driver to break the 1’18 barrier in the process.

Despite running in the top three in every session, Leclerc said he was pleased to have taken pole after a “messy” weekend.

“It felt good,” said Leclerc. “Even more because it’s a track where I’ve always struggled in the past as a driver. I don’t know, it probably doesn’t fit me as well. And this weekend we really worked hard.

“It was a bit messy for the free practice sessions for me. I managed to do some good laps but not everything together. In Q3 I managed to put everything together so it feels great and I’m very happy to be starting on pole tomorrow.”

Before leaving the pits for his final run, Leclerc told race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros he wanted to run behind team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr, in order to benefit from the slipstream from the other car. However Sainz was delayed leaving the pits due to a technical problem, so this could not be arranged.

Sainz will line up ninth on the grid, leaving Leclerc on his own at the front with the two Red Bulls immediately behind him. Having been passed by Max Verstappen for the win at the previous race, Leclerc is wary of the threat from the Red Bull drivers.

“The car is nice to drive but the Red Bulls were very quick in P2 in during the long fuel run,” he said. “But to be honest we were quite surprised by our pace in qualifying.

“So everything is possible tomorrow, we just need to do a good start and then hopefully we can keep that first position.”

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2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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3 comments on “Leclerc surprised to take pole at track where he has “struggled””

  1. This was so pointlessly stupid from both of them. i mean yeah stroll pulled over on him but what on earth was latifi doing in the first place?

    1. ok i have seriously no idea how this got here i swear to god i Was just below the stroll gridpenalty article O.o

  2. LeClerc is really good, struggling, car jumping all over the place, purpoising up and down while going flat around a corner…

    And struggled he did on to the pole.

    Imagine if Ferrari was a bit more stable?

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