Leclerc “not happy” with qualifying performance despite pole position

Formula 1

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Charles Leclerc says he didn’t get the best out of his car in qualifying for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, despite taking pole position for the race.

The Ferrari driver beat Carlos Sainz Jnr by less than five-hundredths of a second as he took his fifth pole position of the season. But Leclerc will little faster in the final phase of qualifying than he was in the previous round, and believes he could have gone considerably quicker.

“I’m not happy with Q3,” he said, “but at the same time, you can only be happy when you are on pole.

“In Q2 it was probably the best laps I’ve done in a while. Both of them were really, really good.

“Then in Q3, I didn’t put things together and I was always losing a tenth here and there. At the end I managed to do more or less the same time as as Q2 but I think there was quite a bit of track improvement so I should have gone faster.”

Leclerc revelled in the performance of his Ferrari, which has been competitive since the weekend began on the new Las Vegas Strip Circuit.

“The car felt great again,” he said. “But it’s the way it is. It’s always tricky on the street tracks.

“But I enjoyed this qualifying session. I mean, how can you not enjoy when it’s going all well like this? The car felt really good again so it was a good session for us.”

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His second run in Q3 was slightly tidier than his first, Leclerc said. “It just was a cleaner lap compared to my first lap in Q3, that’s why I did a step forward from the first to the second lap. But all in all, both of them weren’t really clean.

“The second lap in Q2 was a really, really good lap. And honestly I just was trying to achieve exactly the same in Q3 and taking the track evolution and maybe gain three or four tenths.

“But I just tried to overdo it, especially on the first run in Q3, and then I lost a lot. And then in the second run in Q3 I managed to do it a little bit better, but there were still too many mistakes. So the two laps in Q3 weren’t really, really good.”

The team made progress overnight by improving how their car extracted performance from its tyres, said Leclerc.

“What was most difficult was to put the tyres into right window. As soon as you were a little bit out. Then the first sector will be miles off. So that was the most tricky part with qualifying.

“But at the end I think we did a good jump forward on that and we prepared qualifying well because we were struggling a lot with the first lap on the tyres and then in qualifying we did it well, so we did a really good job as a team.”

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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...

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5 comments on “Leclerc “not happy” with qualifying performance despite pole position”

  1. Maybe it’s an idea for Leclerc to worry about the racing performance.

    1. It is not him, but the car that only perform well in first laps of a tire stint.

  2. He may start on pole position, but most likely he’ll fail to conver that into victory yet again.

  3. convert

    1. I pressed ‘reply’ but somehow still got separately.

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