Formula 1 Racing

‘I didn’t do a good enough job’ says Leclerc as mystery grip loss thwarts pole bid · RaceFans

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Charles Leclerc said his qualifying performance had not been up to scratch after his expected bid for pole position failed to materialise.

Leclerc was quickest in the final two practice sessions at Albert Park but could not carry that momentum into the crucial qualifying session.

He ended the session in fifth place after he called off his final push lap attempt due to an error through turn 12. That left him down in fifth on the grid, before he was promoted to fourth following Sergio Perez’s grid penalty for impeding.

“Sorry guys,” he told race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros after abandoning his final lap.

“The car was really difficult to drive. It was going from understeer to oversteer – I don’t know why.”

Speaking after the session, Leclerc admitted his problems with the balance of his car started in the final practice session.

“Already in FP3, I started losing the feeling,” he told the official F1 channel. “But I was quite confident I would find it back in qualifying and I did not.”

Leclerc said he struggled with the balance of his car throughout the qualifying session and his set-up adjustments did not seem to help.

“I struggled to rotate the car in the first two sectors,” he explained. “Then in the last run I decided to go very aggressive with the front wing and I lost the rear massively.

“So all in all, not a clean quali – I wasn’t really happy with the feeling of the car.”

With Ferrari losing what appeared to be a genuine shot at their first pole position of the season in Melbourne, Leclerc says beating Red Bull in the race will not be target on Sunday.

“We will focus on ourselves,” he said. “Trying to maximise the points on our side is crucial. Today the car was only P5 and I didn’t do a good enough job, so tomorrow will be all about trying to come back.

“Tomorrow, it’s a long race. There are four DRS zones and from now on I will focus on that to try and maximise the result from where we started.”

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