Leclerc and Sainz in a heated exchange after Australian qualifying

Leclerc and Sainz in a heated exchange after Australian qualifying

Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were seen having a heated exchange following the Australian Grand Prix qualifying.

Leclerc, who finished eighth in qualifying for the race on Sunday, lamented Ferrari’s Q3 decisions, saying that a variety of issues prevented him from delivering the fastest lap.

The Monégasque was not pleased with his team’s actions, including sending him out last in qualifying behind teammate Sainz and ordering him to make a hasty second attempt.

Leclerc made his frustrations known on the team radio, mockingly implying that the Spaniard gave him a “tow” while in reality his teammate was in the way.

This was evident when Leclerc spoke to Sainz following the hectic qualifying end.

“S**t lap, I had no prep this time… Big thanks to Carlos for the tow,” Leclerc said over the team radio. “Got a bit of speed there, always nice.”

In Albert Park, where it was chilly and most of the grid had to complete two practice laps before attempting any flying laps, tire warm-up strategy was essential. To make matters more challenging, a 90% chance of rain that had been predicted prior to the session failed to materialize.

Given the circumstances, it’s easy to argue Ferrari did not give Leclerc the greatest chance possible on that kind of day.

“It was a difficult qualifying… I knew I had to line up everything in my last lap of Q3,” Leclerc told French broadcaster Canal+ after qualifying. “Unfortunately we were waiting for the rain so we didn’t do a warm-up lap, which made things more difficult.”

“Carlos gave me a nice tow as well in turn 3 and 4… we didn’t manage the qualification well.”

“It’s a bit frustrating, but you can’t deny it, I was still in trouble today. I think tomorrow will be a bit better.”

In a statement to the English media, Leclerc also acknowledged his own mistakes from the day.

“The second run in Q3, we thought the rain was coming so I went without doing a preparation lap and had to push straight away which wasn’t great for the tyres,” said the Ferrari driver. “I also found myself behind Carlos for the whole first sector which is something I hope we will look into as a team because this cost us quite a bit.”

“Honestly, in Q1 and Q2 I didn’t do a great job in terms of driving… Then I just had to put everything together, which I think in Q3 was getting a little bit better.”

However, Leclerc’s SF-23 was designed with race performance over qualifying in mind, therefore Sunday’s contest could yield more favorable results for him.

“Tomorrow is the race I think we have quite a good race car,” he added. “I compromised quali pace a little bit for the race so let’s see how it goes.”

“I don’t want to get into this [where he could have qualified without problems] because I hadn’t been driving well in Q1 and Q2 and in Q3 you never know what is possible.”

Leave a Reply