Leclerc: Ferrari got French GP tow tactics wrong on first Q3 run

Charles Leclerc says Ferrari’s French Grand Prix tow tactics went wrong at the first attempt in Q3, as he followed Formula 1 team-mate Carlos Sainz through the Mistral straight chicane.

Leclerc: Ferrari got French GP tow tactics wrong on first Q3 run

Although Sainz will start Sunday’s Paul Ricard race from the back of the grid due to his post-Austrian GP retirement engine change, Ferrari got the Spaniard to progress through to Q3 so he could help Leclerc in his battle with Red Bull's Max Verstappen for pole.

In the final qualifying segment, Sainz led Leclerc out of the pits each time.

After Leclerc had dropped back at the end of their outlaps to avoid dirty air from his team-mate’s car through the technical first sector, Sainz waited for him to get through the Mistral chicane before towing him through Signes and up to Le Beausset before pulling over just before the right-hander.

Although Leclerc led Verstappen by 0.008s after the first runs in Q3, he gained 0.2s compared to his previous personal best in the second sector on the 1m30.872s that secured pole.

Leclerc said this was because the first tow attempt had gone wrong as such tactics are “quite tricky to get it exactly right”.

“The first lap maybe we were a bit too close in [Turns] 8/9, so I lost a little bit there and I just drove not in the best way possible,” he said in the post-qualifying press conference.

“And then in the second lap we adapted that and then it was better and that was the lap [that got pole].

“We did a good job communication-wise and so Carlos helping me was amazing.”

When asked by Autosport if Ferrari had been able to practice its tow tactics before Q3, Leclerc confirmed: “No, we didn’t practice before Q3 actually.

“So, we did quite a good job between the first run of Q3 and the second run of Q3 – we did a good step in the right direction.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, receives the Pirelli Pole Position Award from Jean Alesi

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, receives the Pirelli Pole Position Award from Jean Alesi

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Sainz ended up ninth before his penalty will drop him to 19th for the race tomorrow, ahead of similarly penalty-addled Kevin Magnussen.

The Spaniard revealed after qualifying that Ferrari had always planned to use the tow tactics with his penalty in mind.

“The target was to get to Q3 to give Charles the tow two times as we did,” said Sainz. “So, it was the plan for the whole weekend.

“I know how to give a good two because I know what I need in my quali lap if I wanted to gain two, three tenths from a tow.

“So, I knew what to do from the beginning and I think we executed it nicely.”

Read Also:

Despite the plan being agreed upon in advance, Leclerc felt because it was unrehearsed he “knew that Carlos was going to eventually get out the way at one point, I just didn’t know when”.

He added: “But yeah, Carlos judged it perfectly and got out the way at the right moment.”

Verstappen ended up 0.304s behind Leclerc but did not feel Ferrari’s tow gain was the sole reason it got pole.

The Dutchman said Red Bull had not considered deploying similar tactics with Sergio Perez, who qualified third.

“No, we are both of course trying to get the best possible qualifying result,” he explained.

“It’s a bit different [for Ferrari] – Carlos is starting from the back, so I think it was a smart thing to do and probably if one of us had to start from the back something similar can happen as well.”

shares
comments

Related video

Sainz: "Frustrating" France F1 penalty hit when "feeling the best with the car"
Previous article

Sainz: "Frustrating" France F1 penalty hit when "feeling the best with the car"

Next article

Verstappen: Red Bull's top-speed advantage will help in French GP Ferrari battle

Verstappen: Red Bull's top-speed advantage will help in French GP Ferrari battle
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Plus

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge Plus

Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge

Faced with drivers complaining about the long-term health effects of car ‘bouncing’, the FIA stepped in to deal with it. JAKE BOXALL-LEGGE explains how the so-called ‘Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric’ works, and asks if it is fit for purpose?

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2022