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 Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull Plus

Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull

The 2022 Formula 1 season was Mercedes' leanest for a decade, achieving just a solitary pole and grand prix win. Yet the team is confident it has got the tools it needs to cast that disappointment aside and return to the front of the field again next year

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Plus

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Plus

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Plus

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Plus

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022