Leclerc: Portimao qualifying shows I have a lot to learn

Charles Leclerc believes his performance in Formula 1 qualifying at Portimao last Saturday shows he still has “a lot to learn” despite receiving praise for his one-lap displays.

Leclerc: Portimao qualifying shows I have a lot to learn

Leclerc qualified fourth for each of the first two races of the 2021 season, but slumped to eighth in Portugal last weekend after struggling to nail his final lap in Q3.

It resigned Leclerc to a qualifying defeat to Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr and meant he could only recover to sixth place in the race, losing out in the midfield fight to McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies said that Leclerc seemed “less comfortable” at Portimao with the tricky track conditions, lacking the usual “magic” he can deliver across one lap to outstrip the performance of the car.

“He has this capacity to extract two-tenths that we didn’t know were there in our car,” Mekies said. “He does that on a regular basis. It’s nearly normal business for him to do that.”

Leclerc said that while he was grateful for Mekies’ comment, he felt his display in Portugal showed that he still had room for improvement when it came to approaching qualifying.

"I feel like yesterday shows also that I've got a lot to learn still,” Leclerc said after the race.

“Surely qualifying is one of my strengths. But yesterday, and overall, this weekend has been quite poor for me. So, very inconsistent. So there's still a lot to work on my side.”

A number of drivers reported struggles with the low-grip asphalt at Portimao, which combined with the hardest selection of Pirelli tyres left many feeling uncomfortable throughout the weekend.

Leclerc explained that he struggle with building up his lap time across all three stages of qualifying, having gained just 0.067 seconds between his best laps in Q1 and Q3.

“What I learned from this weekend is maybe I should have taken it step by step, especially on such a difficult weekend like this,” Leclerc said.

“I’ve tried to push the car to its limit straight away and it made my weekend very, very messy.

“If I look Friday and Saturday, they haven’t been very good days for me, and I was just all over the place and once in 10 laps I managed to do a very good lap, but I was just not consistent.

“Maybe in those conditions, I should have taken it a bit more step by step, which I did today [in the race].”

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

Williams recruitment drive part of Dorilton's "plan to innovate"

Previous article

Williams recruitment drive part of Dorilton's "plan to innovate"

Next article

How McLaren hopes to help F1 with its secret ballots call

How McLaren hopes to help F1 with its secret ballots call
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Prime

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Prime

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship.

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021