Leclerc explains front-end struggles behind qualifying "disaster"

Charles Leclerc says struggles with the front end of his Ferrari Formula 1 car made French Grand Prix qualifying a "disaster” before recovering to seventh on the grid.

Leclerc arrived at Paul Ricard off the back of consecutive pole positions in Monaco and Baku, but downplayed Ferrari's chances of factoring in the fight at the front upon the move back to a permanent circuit.

While Carlos Sainz was able to qualify fifth on Saturday, Leclerc struggled more through qualifying, scraping through to Q3 after a difficult final run in Q2.

Leclerc was heard on team radio complaining about the front end of his car in Q3 before rallying to seventh place, finishing 0.147 seconds off Sainz's time.

Speaking at Paul Ricard after qualifying, Leclerc explained that the struggles were more down to him than the car, and that he had been adjusting his approach to drive around the issue.

"I just couldn't drive around the limitation that we've had a little bit all weekend, struggling a little bit with the front," Leclerc explained.

"But to be honest, it's more coming from me than from the car. It's a limitation that Carlos and I had, and Carlos just did a better job driving around that issue, and I just struggled in qualifying to drive around it.

"It's more something that is coming from me that I will analyse after qualifying, and to understand what I could have done better with my driving to help a little bit the car today.

"I was actually pretty happy with my last lap in Q3, because before that it was a disaster. I was very, very far off.

"Then in Q3, I managed to find a little bit of time. It wasn't enough, but I could find a little bit more time."

Read Also:

Sainz said that he was also struggling a bit with the front tyres, believing it was easy to get them outside of the optimum temperature window.

"We're struggling like everyone with the front tyres feeling a bit too soft," Sainz said.

"It's difficult to drive the tyres on their peak, it's very easy to overheat them. I was trying to stay disciplined, but I was also struggling with the same [issue]. It's not easy.

"The important thing is that today with every compound and in every wind direction that changed through qualy, I kind of knew how to adapt, how to change, and suddenly, the lap time was coming."

Saturday's result marked only the second time this season Sainz had outqualified Leclerc. The Spanish driver was grateful for a clean qualifying, having been frustrated by red flags at recent events that cost him an opportunity to secure a higher grid position.

"I must say that today was also a bit of a relief after two or three frustrating qualys where I didn't manage to do at any of the laps to extract the full potential of the car," Sainz said.

"Coming here, I really was looking for a clean qualy. No issues, no red flags, two or three strong laps in Q2 and Q3. And that's exactly what I managed to put together today.

"All the way since Q1, in Q2 with the medium, to Q3, they were really, really good laps. And yeah, a bit of a relief, because it had been a frustrating two or three qualys recently."

shares
comments

Related video

Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen on pole for French GP

Previous article

Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen on pole for French GP

Next article

Verstappen: Red Bull didn't expect to be this good at Paul Ricard

Verstappen: Red Bull didn't expect to be this good at Paul Ricard
Load comments
The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin Prime

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon in Texas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021