Charles Leclerc admits that he is not entirely sure that Ferrari’s long-run pace will be enough to keep them ahead of Red Bull in the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Monegasque clinched pole position in Saturday’s qualifying after a dramatic Q3, in which he suffered a spin on his first flying lap. This left him without a time on the board, meaning that it all rested on his final attempt.
Leclerc overcame the pressure to go fastest, and will be joined on the front row by Max Verstappen, whose own efforts were affected by a DRS issue.
Leclerc reflects on Ferrari’s long-run pace
Despite bringing upgrades to Barcelona, the Scuderia appear to have lacked long-run pace in comparison to some of their rivals, with Red Bull’s Helmut Marko admitting that he had been “surprised” by the Italian outfit’s “poor long runs” on Friday.
Leclerc feels that the team made progress with this on Saturday, but remains unsure of whether it is enough to match the likes of Verstappen.
“We’ve done a bit of a long run this morning, which was much better compared to yesterday,” Leclerc told media, after qualifying.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have any other references because we were the only ones doing long runs this morning. But it feels like we found something.
“Whether it’s going to be enough to challenge Max and Checo [Sergio Perez], I don’t know, but the feeling was better, so this is positive.
“But I don’t know whether it will be enough or not.”
Leclerc explains tyre strategy
In terms of looking ahead to the race, Leclerc admits that this was a factor in his decision to run only used tyres during Q2 of qualifying.
When asked about the thinking behind the strategy, he explained: “New tyre to start the race, so I think this is what I was thinking at that time.”
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz will start just behind him in P3.
The Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are fourth and sixth respectively, with Red Bull’s Perez sandwiched inbetween in P5.