Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2023

Leclerc didn’t believe Ferrari’s simulation of Alfa Romeo’s surprise performance

2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Charles Leclerc thought Ferrari had got their simulation wrong when they told him how quick Alfa Romeo were following practice yesterday.

He realised they had been right after Zhou Guanyu out-qualified both Ferrari drivers today. Leclerc took sixth on the grid ahead of the other Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas, while Carlos Sainz Jnr failed to reach Q3 in the second Ferrari.

“They were very strong,” Leclerc admitted after qualifying. “Yesterday, the team showed me the simulations of what we think they will be like and honestly they were all right, the simulation ahead of today.

“Yesterday, I was like ‘there might be something wrong in that, it might be a mistake’ and they proved me wrong today because the team expected it.”

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, Hungaroring, 2023
Zhou beat Leclerc to be quickest Ferrari-powered driver
Alfa Romeo did not bring any new updates for their car this weekend. Leclerc said it was hard to comprehend how they had produced such a strong performance in Hungary.

“It’s very difficult to understand because of my knowledge, I haven’t checked, but I don’t think they had any particularly big upgrades for this weekend,” he said. “But then from one weekend to the other, everybody’s changing. So it’s very difficult to understand.”

Leclerc thought his lap would be more competitive until he was where it had left him on the grid. “It’s not a great [feeling] to be honest because my lap, I was really happy with my lap, and then you look at the board and you are P6. The margins are very close until P4, but then the top three is quite a lot ahead on a track like this.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

He has cars from four different teams ahead of him on the grid, including the two McLaren drivers, who claimed the second row of the grid.

George Russell, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying day in pictures
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. Today, McLaren again is showing that they’ve done a general big step forward because on a track like this, compared to Silverstone, it’s completely different characteristics and they are very quick. So we need to do a step forward.”

Ferrari arrived in Hungary expected the car would suit them better, but the car’s sensitivity to changes in track conditions hurt them again, said Leclerc.

“Honestly, I think it’s still quite fast, but it’s still too picky. Whenever we’ve got qualifying where we’ve got a bit more wind, today, Silverstone was obviously extreme, but here also there are some corners that are very affected by the wind and today we were suffering a lot in those.

“So it’s still the same problem. We did some step forward, but the others don’t have that pickiness, and whenever we are in those conditions we are struggling more than others.”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

2 comments on “Leclerc didn’t believe Ferrari’s simulation of Alfa Romeo’s surprise performance”

  1. Impressive performance indeed by alfa, they were strong all quali; a surprise compared to the rest of the season.

  2. Neither did I really.

Comments are closed.