Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023

Leclerc sure Ferrari made “right choice” by missing last run to save tyres

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari made the right decision not to complete a final run in qualifying, despite it costing him a place on the grid.

He lay second behind Max Verstappen after the first runs in Q3. But Leclerc climbed out of his car before the final runs, despite having a fresh set of soft tyres available.

While Leclerc stayed in the pits, Sergio Perez improved his time on the final run, relegating the Ferrari driver to third on the grid.

Ferrari confirmed the team decided not to send Leclerc out for a final run in order to save a fresh set of tyres.

Leclerc said Ferrari’s pace over a race stint is not as strong as that of rivals Red Bull and Aston Martin, and saving a fresh set of tyres will put them in a stronger position for the grand prix.

“We need to be realistic,” Leclerc told media including RaceFans in the press conference after qualifying. “Those guys and also Aston Martin seems to be really, really quick in the race.

“Which is why I think we made that choice in Q3 to be willing to lose one or two positions at the start, but having new tyres to put all the chances on our side, which I’m sure is the right choice. But let’s see you tomorrow.”

Speaking immediately after he got out of the car, Leclerc said Ferrari’s pace in qualifying had been “a good surprise” for the team and thinks he might have had a chance to take pole position.

“To be honest I did not expect that after testing and after the free practices that were a little bit difficult, we managed to find that pace for the quali lap, which was great.

“However, we need to keep in our mind that in the race run we seem to be a little bit on the back foot compared to Red Bull. I think we are in a better place starting third with new tyres than starting first with old, I don’t know if we would have got pole or not, but it would have been close.”

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2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Leclerc sure Ferrari made “right choice” by missing last run to save tyres”

  1. Makes sense. If Red Bull is out of reach, securing 3rd on the grid and saving a set of tyres is pretty much the best way to go into the Grand Prix for Leclerc.

  2. I initially thought he’d run out of fresh softs, but I reckon he’ll start the race with that sole fresh soft set to try & maximize opening lap opportunities.

    1. @jerejj
      or maybe save it to the end hoping for a late SC situation…

      1. @tifoso1989 Another possibility.

  3. So long as they don’t use them from the start, they will only be a couple of laps younger and will squander that opportunity, especially if there’s a safety car later on.

    1. And with the race direction nowadays you can be sure that any little accident WILL bring out a SC.

  4. I guess the lap time of the first lap was above what they thought they would be able to do and decided to abort the second one, but seeing Charles do his magic quite a few times pole was probably possible. I wouldn’t trade a pole position for a couple of laps on fresher tyres. The race is long and anything can happen.

    1. @afonic I agree. Ferrari over-strategizing is a constant. It just seems to play into their bad luck / poor race decisions / driver error. Just land the thing on pole and then worry about how to stay there.

  5. So is this a sign of bold, assertive strategy calls from the new team or a last convulsion of the old team… trying to be smart in saving a set only to now get stuck behind Perez…
    Guess we’ll find out

  6. As a Ferrari fan this season is a write off, the fact that our race pace isn’t as good as RedBull doesn’t give me much hope
    We can’t VSC & Safety Car our way to a championship

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