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
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

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
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022