Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

“We were just completely slow” says Leclerc after shock Q1 exit

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc was convinced a problem had developed at the rear of his car after being eliminated in the first round of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver reported a handling problem during the session, telling race engineer Xavi Marcos Padros: “There is something wrong with my rears.”

He called for a fresh set of soft tyres before his final run but was only able to set the 19th-fastest time, which leaves him on the back row of the grid. “We are out, right?” he asked after his last run. Told he was, Leclerc replied: “Unbelievable.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr reached Q3 in the other Ferrari. Afterwards Leclerc admitted “I don’t have the answers” for the car’s lack of pace.

“We’ll have to check the data but most of all check the car, because there was definitely something strange,” he said. “I nearly lost it during the red flag and I was at 70kph and there was just no warning.

“The left-hand corners were really, really bad with the rear-right. I first thought that it was the tyres so we went for a new set of tyres. And on the new set of tyres it was exactly the same feeling: Right-hand corners really good, left-hand corners completely off. We’ll have to check that out.

“I will be very, very surprised if we don’t find something on the car.”

Leclerc said he was happy with his car’s balance in final practice and only changed the car “a tiny bit” between it and the start of qualifying.

“So this is not the reason,” he said. “It’s not like it was a set-up thing. The set-up is just a slight change, this was way too much of a difference from the left-hand corners to right.”

“We were just completely slow,” he concluded. “I was not even that surprised when they told me I was out of Q1.

“I was very surprised with the feeling, which is why I said ‘unbelievable’. When they told me I was out of Q1 with the car I had today I was not surprised.”

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2023 Spanish 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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6 comments on ““We were just completely slow” says Leclerc after shock Q1 exit”

  1. Ferrari creative thinking skills are absolutely top notch. When you believe it’s impossible to make things worse, they always discover new ways to mess things up. Unbelievable !

  2. Oh well, he wasn’t going to win anyway. This at least puts a (theoretically) fast car down the field.

  3. Awful day for him:
    (1) something off with the car
    (2) stopped at the weigh bridge while he’s scrambling to get a new run in
    (3) has to take anti-doping test after quali

  4. This episode was one of the best for years. I hope director will continue like this so they can fight for golden globe for best comedy show!

  5. I heard they are planning for a grand final for this season. Sainz and Leclerc crashing into each other while racing for a podium. Charles hitting an umbrella in some race and for Abu Dhabi hitting a bird in the last lap while leading for 30s. Can’t wait to see future episodes!

  6. Forget Hamilton, Ferrari need Horner or Wolff.(Much as I hate to admit it.)
    Good legal eagles to minimise the wrongful dismissal suits or severance payouts for the “with no successes a lot of you all are the weakest links, goodbye”
    Finally if Zak comes offering his services , a Cleese “run away ” solution is called for (complete with coconut husks being knocked together to imitate the sound of equines galloping).

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