Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc explained that the Maranello team’s tyre mistake at the start of the final phase of qualifying for the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps was inconsequential and does not make difference for the overall weekend in Belgium.
Despite the fact that he knew he would start from the back of the grid, Charles Leclerc went out in all three parts of qualifying: as he prepared for his first fast laps in Q3, the Monegasque driver’s mechanics wrongly mounted his F1-75 car with a fresh set of soft Pirelli tyres instead of used tyres as planned, given the fact that his main goal was to give a tow to Carlos Sainz:
“Wait, what are these tyres?” Charles Leclerc asked on his out lap, with race engineer Xavier Marcos Padres replying: “Sorry, that was a mistake”.
Charles Leclerc finished the qualifying session in P4 at Spa, but his result was less important as he will start the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday from P16 as a result of several engine-related grid penalties.
The mistake made by Scuderia Ferrari had no major outcome on Charles Leclerc’s performance, but it remains a new issue for a side which has been heavily criticized in the first part of the 2022 Formula 1 championship for the many errors seen so far: “I think there was a miscommunication, it wasn’t a big deal,” Charles Leclerc explained at the end of qualifying in Belgium – “But obviously I mentioned it because I was a bit surprised. But yeah, it doesn’t change anything anyway, for the rest of the weekend.” – he added.
Evaluating the Maranello team’s relative performance in the Saturday afternoon qualifying session topped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc rued the Italian side’s lap time deficit to the Dutchman, adding Ferrari “expected to close a little bit more the gap in qualifying”.
“They found something this weekend that is quite impressive. It’s a big gap. So I hope that in Zandvoort it will change. But before that we’ve got the race tomorrow, we seem to be a bit more competitive. Let’s see how it goes.” – he continued.
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2021 F1 world champion Max Verstappen will also start the Belgian Grand Prix right in front of Charles Leclerc in P15 and confirmed that he would be disappointed if he didn’t finish on the podium, based on his strong display during the practice sessions and qualifying. However, Charles Leclerc admitted he is not t sure he’ll be able to follow his arch-rival into the top-three.
“I will also be disappointed if I don’t get back on the podium, but considering he’s with me, if he has the pace of today, then it’s going to be very difficult for me to get back on the podium. But yeah, we never know. A good first stint, a clean race and I’m sure we can get back to the front.” – Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc concluded.