Leclerc: Monza F1 pole "a great surprise" after recent struggles

Charles Leclerc said his pole on Ferrari's home soil at Formula 1's Italian Grand Prix was a "great surprise" after struggling to match Red Bull in previous races.

Leclerc: Monza F1 pole "a great surprise" after recent struggles

Leclerc was the lone favourite to start Sunday's race from pole given the grid penalties for his team-mate Carlos Sainz and both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

But as Ferrari showed plenty of pace around the cathedral of speed, Leclerc was determined to take pole on merit and duly did with his final run in Q3.

After trailing Sainz by two tenths following the first barrage of runs, the Monegasque set a lap of 1m20.161s to jump Sainz's 1m20.429s.

Verstappen was next across the line, but settled in between the two Ferrari drivers in second after trailing Leclerc by 0.145s, much to the delight of the scarlet tifosi at the start-finish line.

Leclerc admitted his eighth pole of the season was a "very good surprise" after not expecting to be able to defeat Verstappen and Red Bull, given Ferrari struggled at the similarly high-speed Spa.

"It's a very good surprise today, especially where we came from in Spa," he said. 

"I did not expect to fight for pole here, so it's great surprise to have pole at home.

Polesitter Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Polesitter Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

"In FP1 and FP2 we tested a lot of things across cars with Carlos and we found different directions that were interesting.

"We were really struggling at Spa, and we found some pace. It shows we are going in the right direction. 

"The lap I'm extremely happy with. The first run I didn't do a great lap but then I managed to put everything together."

On Friday Leclerc said he was even happier with his Ferrari's race pace than its one-lap potential, and after his pole he reiterated his confidence that he can finish off the job on Sunday.

"Our race pace is strong, the feeling was really good," he said after stepping out of the car. 

"Whatever happens on the first lap, I think we still have the pace to win the race. I think we can have a good Sunday."

shares
comments
F1 Grand Prix qualifying results: Leclerc takes Italian GP pole
Previous article

F1 Grand Prix qualifying results: Leclerc takes Italian GP pole

Next article

Verstappen: "Good chance" of beating Leclerc despite Italian GP penalty

Verstappen: "Good chance" of beating Leclerc despite Italian GP penalty
The relaxed home life that helps F1’s Danish superstar to deliver Plus

The relaxed home life that helps F1’s Danish superstar to deliver

The unrelenting grasp of the tax man prompts most racing drivers to move to the likes of Monaco, Switzerland or Dubai. But, as OLEG KARPOV found out, Kevin Magnussen is quite happy where he is, thank you very much – at home, with his family, in Denmark

Formula 1
Oct 5, 2022
How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in Plus

How Perez has shown what many F1 drivers need from the 2022 season run-in

OPINION: Sergio Perez’s Singapore triumph arrested a big decline in his Formula 1 performances against Max Verstappen at Red Bull since his Monaco win. He now needs to maintain his form to the season’s end, while others are also seeking a change in fortunes

Formula 1
Oct 5, 2022
How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap Plus

How the FIA should punish any breaches of the F1 cost cap

OPINION: On Wednesday, the FIA will issue F1 teams with compliance certificates if they stuck to the 2021 budget cap. But amid rumours of overspending, the governing body must set a critical precedent. It needs to carefully pick between revisiting the bitterness of Abu Dhabi, a contradictory punishment and ensuring parity for the rest of the ground-effect era

Formula 1
Oct 4, 2022
Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

A testing return to the Singapore Grand Prix in tricky conditions created plenty of hazards and mistakes for the Formula 1 drivers to fall into. That partly explains a number of low scores, including from a handful of high profile runners, allowing others to take a starring role under the floodlights

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP Plus

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP

In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty

Formula 1
Oct 3, 2022
The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Formula 1
Oct 2, 2022
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022