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Formula 1 Las Vegas GP

Leclerc “didn’t do a good enough job” despite Las Vegas F1 pole

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc believes he “didn’t do a good enough job” in qualifying despite landing the first-ever pole position for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Pole man Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari, arrives in Parc Ferme

In a somewhat anti-climactic end to the shootout, Leclerc was guaranteed a 23rd F1 pole when Carlos Sainz failed to jump his team-mate and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen abandoned his final flying lap.

That ensured Leclerc’s 1min32.726s effort was sufficient to cement top spot, having pipped Sainz by 0.044s - although the Spaniard will drop to 12th owing to a 10-place grid penalty for taking new power unit components after his Ferrari was damaged from hitting a loose water valve cover in FP1.

But Leclerc remained downbeat about his performance, saying that he should have improved more over his Q2 lap given the exaggerated track evolution at the resurfaced Sin City street circuit. Leclerc’s Q2 lap was 0.05s slower than his Q3 run.

Leclerc said: “Obviously, it's an incredible event and to be starting from pole tomorrow is great.

“However, a bit disappointed with my laps in Q3. I didn't do a good enough job, but it was enough for P1. So that's all we need.

He continued: “I think my best lap was in Q2, which the track evolution is big here, so I should have done it in Q3, but I didn't. But again, it's like this and we are starting from pole, so I cannot complain.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

With Sainz at the mercy of a penalty, Verstappen - who ended the session 0.378s adrift - will complete the front row. Throughout 2023, the RB19 has proved to be beatable over one-lap but often takes a major step forward when it comes to race pace.

Leclerc added: “Now full focus is on tomorrow to try and put everything together in the race.

“Normally that's where we lack most performance, so I hope we can put it all together and win here.”

The Monegasque has not won from first on the grid since Australia in 2022, having qualified on pole 12 times since.

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Verstappen added: “It's quite cold out there. It's quite slippery. And of course, being on a street circuit as well, you trying to get as close as you can to the walls. But that's not always very straightforward.

“I do think that we maximised today. I think already the whole weekend so far we've been lacking a little bit of one-lap performance and that was also quite clear in qualifying.”

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