Leclerc feeling "quite shit" as he waits on gearbox inspection

Charles Leclerc says he feels "quite shit" after topping Formula 1 qualifying for the eighth time, due to the circumstances of his Q3 crash at the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix.

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Leclerc crashed at the second part of the Swimming Pool sequence on a flying lap with just few seconds of qualifying remaining, clipping the barriers on the inside of the first apex and breaking the suspension at the right-front of his car.

The initial impact and damage sent him across the kerbs of the second apex and into the barriers on the outside, where he also suffered significant damage to the rear of his SF21.

After the resulting red flags ended the session early, Leclerc's qualifying P1 was confirmed after he had led the Q3 runners through the opening runs – although he now waits on Ferrari discovering the details of the damage and finding out if he must take a new gearbox ahead of the Monaco race, which would result in a grid penalty.

After climbing from his car, Leclerc told F1 television "it doesn't feel the same" compared to the joy of usually taking pole.

When asked by Motorsport.com to explain how he was feeling once the initial post-qualifying period had passed, Leclerc replied: "For now, it feels quite shit, to be honest.

"I'm just waiting for the gearbox and that's it. For now, I can't enjoy that qualy as I would like to."

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Leclerc, who he said he had heard "nothing" by way of an update regarding the damage done to his car at the time he was speaking in the Monaco paddock, also responded to questions from reporters regarding suggestions that his crash had been done deliberately, which he rebuffed.

"I think Valtteri and Max [third and second in qualifying] were actually speaking about that in the press conference together. I think they hadn't seen the images before thinking it was on purpose.

"I'm pretty sure that once they'd seen the images… I can tell you that if it was done on purpose, I would have done it a lot more cleverly and not gone at full speed into [the barrier] and risking breaking the gearbox.

"So, no, it was definitely not on purpose."

Leclerc also explained that his final Q3 lap "didn't start great" and that "in the last sector I tried to push a bit more".

He added: "I had gained a little bit at the beginning of it, but then lost it all with the crash.

"So, yeah, it's like this. I went for it at the end. It's one of my strengths sometimes and it's why sometimes I am good in qualifying. It's also why I've done this mistake today.

"Whether this will make me change the approach for all the races to come, no, because at the end I had to go for it.

"But, it will be hard one to take if we have to change the gearbox."

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