“Seventh because I had Sainz ahead of me”-

Of Andrea Serene

The Monegasque driver annoyed by a strategic misunderstanding with the team: «While I was looking for the fastest lap I had Carlos in front who was warming up the tyres. We need to understand with the team what happened.”

Charles Leclerc is not happy. He can’t be. Qualifying for the Australian GP didn’t go well. He, who took pole last year, will start from seventh place this time. Far from Verstappen, who remains the reference (Max is on pole, complete results HERE), but also behind teammate Sainz, who finished fifth. But Leclerc doesn’t fit. He is annoyed, he feels damaged by his team, Ferrari. The reason? In Q3, while he was pushing to set the fastest lap, Sainz was in front of him warming up the tyres.

“Unfortunately, we missed too much to be a little further up front,” said a Sky the Monegasque driver, visibly disappointed. Then he explains the reason for the annoyance: «We need to see with the team what happened with Carlos in the first sector in Q3. It was clear that I had to push on that lap, and Carlos was in front of me throughout the first sector, while he was bringing his tires up to temperature». He doesn’t get around the Leclerc issue, he didn’t like having his partner in front of him while he was pushing hard to set the fastest lap. «It’s a bit of a shame. Then I can’t say that we would have done much better», admits Charles.

Let’s go in order. In Q3, the one that determines pole, Leclerc chooses in agreement with the team to do only one warm-up lap, because the risk was the arrival of rain within a few minutes. Sainz, on the other hand, decides to do two warm-up laps. The Spaniard moves from the pits before Leclerc, who then finds him in front of him when he sets off to set the best possible time. Analyzing that ride, Charles passes his teammate towards the end of the first sector, in which he still manages to improve. The only area in which he doesn’t improve is the central one. In the last one he finds the fastest partial at that moment. But in the end, his strategy turns out to be a loser: he finishes seventh, Sainz fifth.

Two reasons behind his annoyance. The first. Leclerc must have thought: «Because if Sainz had to do two warm-up laps, did he start before me?». Legitimate. The second one. “Why did the team give him two warm-up laps and me just one?” A strategic misunderstanding. There will be a way to talk about it with Vasseur and Ferrari. And then think about the race.

April 1, 2023 (change April 1, 2023 | 10:00 am)



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