Leclerc "very confused" by Qatar GP qualifying struggles after Q2 exit

Charles Leclerc felt “very confused” after struggling to 13th in Formula 1 qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix, believing that “something quite big” went wrong during the session.

Leclerc "very confused" by Qatar GP qualifying struggles after Q2 exit

Leclerc dropped out in Q2 at the Losail International Circuit on Saturday evening, finishing nine-tenths of a second off pace-setter Lewis Hamilton’s time and over three-tenths behind Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.

Leclerc sat last in the order after his first run in Q2, but told Ferrari over the radio that he had “no idea” where the time was being lost as he felt his car was “quite on the limit”.

Speaking to the written media in Qatar after qualifying, Leclerc conceded that he had “no idea” what happened in qualifying as he struggled for grip.

“Normally I'm quite good at understanding what's wrong, in a qualifying lap especially, which is one of my strengths,” Leclerc said.

“But this one is a very strange one. I just had no grip from all four tyres. It's not like I had a balance issue or anything like that. I was just struggling with all four tyres with grip.

“So we need to look into it whether there was anything strange or not. If there's not anything strange, then I will be very happy to understand what I did wrong. Let’s see.”

Leclerc said he did not feel any of the issues during final practice earlier in the day, but was losing “around five or six-tenths” in the first sector through qualifying.

“I have no idea why,” Leclerc said. “The tyres just felt at their limits. I don't know if I wasn't putting the car, the tyres in the right window before the lap. I have no idea for now, but we need to find an explanation.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Leclerc added that his fastest lap in Q2 felt clean, making him question if there was something that had gone wrong during the session to explain his lack of pace.

“I was very confused when I heard the one second over the radio,” Leclerc said.

Read Also:

“I think I'm pretty sure there's something that went wrong this qualifying - well obviously, I'm a second off on the first run of Q2 - but something standing out and something quite big, because I just cannot explain it.”

Asked what his expectations were for the race given the difficulty of following other cars in Qatar, Leclerc replied: “I think anything is possible. We will have a free choice of tyres, so hopefully we can take advantage of it.”

shares
comments

Related video

Wolff fears F1 has opened door for "dirtier driving" over Verstappen call
Previous article

Wolff fears F1 has opened door for "dirtier driving" over Verstappen call

Next article

Hamilton: F1 racing rules "not clear" after FIA briefing post-Brazil clash

Hamilton: F1 racing rules "not clear" after FIA briefing post-Brazil clash
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
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
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…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
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