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.
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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