Jerez F2: Leclerc explains 'strange' three-run strategy behind pole

Ferrari Formula 1 junior driver Charles Leclerc says he and his Prema Racing team opted for a "strange strategy" in Formula 2 qualifying at Jerez to secure pole

Jerez F2: Leclerc explains 'strange' three-run strategy behind pole

Leclerc completed his first run in qualifying on the medium compound tyres before switching to new softs for his final two efforts.

He ended up with an eighth pole position of the 2017 season and afterwards explained the unusual approach was to make sure he would start at the front of the pack at a track where overtaking is tough.

"We went for a bit of a strange strategy for this qualifying," Leclerc said in the post-session press conference.

"We went for three sets of new tyres - on prime first - and actually we were quite impressed with the laptime we set with the prime tyres because we were the fastest and we had the hardest tyres.

"We could not have put the second set of softs [on] but Luca [Ghiotto, who qualified second] was very close so we decided to go for a last set of softs and it went very well.

"We did this strategy because in Jerez it's very difficult to overtake and we want to win the championship this weekend, so we maximised our chances by doing a good qualifying to be well placed for race one."

Leclerc admitted the decision to run an extra set of new medium tyres in qualifying means he will be at disadvantage for Sunday's sprint race, as he will now be starting on used tyres.

The 19-year-old can become the first rookie winner of the second-tier category since Nico Hulkenberg achieved that feat in 2009 if he wins the feature race.

In that scenario, he would be at least 68 points ahead of Oliver Rowland assuming the Briton, who is currently second in the standings, finishes second and sets fastest lap, with 65 points still on offer.

Leclerc explained that as the feature race is worth more points, it was worth prioritising over Sunday's shorter event.

"We just did that because race one will be crucial for the championship and so we just maximised everything for race one," he said.

"We still have the same tyres as the others for race one.

"It will be more for race two that [I] will be in trouble a bit more because I will start on used tyres."

Leclerc acknowledged that while clinching the title would be something he thought about on Saturday, he would continue to employ the one-thing-at-a-time mentality he has had all year.

"[I will think about the title] a little bit, obviously, because I want to win the championship more than everything," he said.

"But on the other side, I have taken this weekend like I took every weekend since the beginning of the season - I really do race-by-race - and tomorrow will be exactly the same.

"I will go for the win - and then we'll see about the championship."

shares
comments
Jerez F2: Ferrari F1 junior Leclerc seals another qualifying pole

Previous article

Jerez F2: Ferrari F1 junior Leclerc seals another qualifying pole

Next article

Charles Leclerc seals Formula 2 title with Jerez feature race win

Charles Leclerc seals Formula 2 title with Jerez feature race win
Load comments
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Plus

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds Plus

The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds

It's a long way from Pukekohe New Zealand to Milton Keynes, but Red Bull's Kiwi protege Liam Lawson has defied plenty of odds to reach the rung below F1. He's endured disappointment since winning on his F2 debut in Bahrain, but is determined to turn his season around and prove himself worthy of a place in F1

FIA F2
Jul 27, 2021
How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season Plus

How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season

Having impressed in Formula 3, Juri Vips looked to be next cab off the rank in Red Bull's prestigious Junior Team before his 2020 schedule was dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a tough start to life in Formula 2, Vips is showing signs of a recovery - could he be the first Estonian to reach Formula 1?

FIA F2
Jun 14, 2021
The making of an F1 hopeful re-writing the F2 record books Plus

The making of an F1 hopeful re-writing the F2 record books

He'd marked himself out as a star of the future in last year's FIA Formula 3 championship, but 17-year-old Theo Pourchaire underlined his credentials by winning his first Formula 2 race in the Monaco feature. Sauber junior status gives him a clear route to the top, but with wisdom beyond his years, he's not getting caught up in his own hype

FIA F2
Jun 3, 2021
The 10 greatest F2 races contested by F1 drivers Plus

The 10 greatest F2 races contested by F1 drivers

Formula 2 used to be about more than providing a stepping stone to F1. For three decades it often provided another setting for the world’s best to fight it out. Autosport picks out the very best races

FIA F2
May 16, 2021
The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive Plus

The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive

Having lost his backing from Red Bull, Richard Verschoor has had to graft to continue his ascent up the single-seater ladder. An impressive Formula 2 debut in Bahrain, despite the lateness of his deal, shows his unorthodox approach is paying dividends

FIA F2
Apr 22, 2021
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Plus

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come

FIA F2
Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Plus

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

FIA F2
Mar 25, 2021