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.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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