Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Leclerc ‘hasn’t been at ease with car’s balance in qualifying’ in recent races

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says his qualifying performance at Zandvoort marked an improvement after a series of difficult sessions, despite a mistake which likely cost him pole position.

The Ferrari driver fell short of beating Max Verstappen to pole position by two-hundredths of a second after an error halfway around his final lap. “Obviously, you’re always targeting to be on pole and looking at my lap in turn ten I did a mistake,” he admitted.”

He suspects it cost him around a tenth of a second. “I’m sure nobody did the perfect lap, especially in these conditions,” said Leclerc. “Turn nine and ten are two extremely tricky corners with the tailwind there and they are much more affected than anywhere else on-track. So it was very, very tricky.

“With the balance of of my car, I struggled quite a little bit in turn ten and I lost the rear and I lost like a tenth or something.

“So looking at it, if you do the perfect lap then you can get pole. But on the other hand, I’m sure Max and Carlos [Sainz Jnr] didn’t do the perfect lap either. So the end result is that we are P2 today.”

He said he was relieved to be as close to Verstappen as he was after an unpromising start to the qualifying session.

“Looking at the gap with Max today, I did not expect that coming into Q3 after the Q1 and Q2 that we had, which was much more tricky. But at the end in Q3 the car felt quite good, I could push.”

He admitted he “hasn’t been completely at ease with the balance” of his car few the last few rounds in qualifying. “But today felt a bit of a step better so it’s good and now I’m looking forward to to tomorrow.”

Leclerc isn’t entirely sure how Ferrari managed to improve their performance during qualifying today. “I don’t really have the explanation yet,” he said.

“We tried different things on the out-lap and by the end it was a little bit better, a bit of a stronger front, which I struggled with understeer since a [while] now. So we need to work on that.

“But for the race, instead I felt confident in the last four races so I’m a bit more confident for tomorrow.”

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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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