Charles Leclerc Blames Bizarre DRS Issues For the ‘Scary’ Gap to Lando Norris in Styrian GP Qualifying

Published 06/27/2021, 3:48 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc ahead of the Steiermark Grand Prix REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger


Charles Leclerc has been one of the few drivers who have managed to torment Lando Norris on the track over this season. However, Saturday’s qualifying in Styria didn’t necessarily help the Monegasque’s case; he ended up in P7, as opposed to Norris’ P3.

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This led to the fans wondering how Leclerc, who was recently hailed by his Ferrari teammate as the best qualifier on the grid, ended up so far down the order.

Well, Leclerc put forward a bizarre claim that the DRS zones had been sabotaging his pace over the entire Saturday afternoon. Hence, he reckoned that it could have been the reason for the “scary” gap between himself and Norris.

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What did Charles Leclerc say?

According to RaceFans, Leclerc revealed that he was satisfied with his final lap in Q3. However, he opined that he could have matched Norris’ lap times had he figured out what was wrong with the DRS on his Ferrari.

I’m happy about my lap, actually very happy with my lap,” he said. “I put everything together, I did a good lap. I didn’t do any mistakes, put all of my best corners in one lap.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during qualifying REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

But then, on the other hand, When I’m looking at the gap in between myself and Lando, it quite… I wouldn’t go as far as ‘scary’. But it’s quite a bit.

Norris posted a lap time of 1:04:120 that boosted the Briton up to P4 and later up to P3, following Valtteri Bottas’ grid penalty. Meanwhile, Leclerc’s hot lap only gifted him P7, as he ended up being almost 0.4s slower than the McLaren up ahead.

Leclerc reveals why he blames the DRS

The Monegasque felt that the DRS activation zones have been the places where his Ferrari constantly kept losing time against his rivals.

We are losing quite a bit in the first sector, which is mainly the three DRS zones, for some reason. We don’t completely understand why yet. Because it’s mostly where we are opening the DRS,” he said.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during qualifying REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

And the others seem to be a lot stronger with the DRS on. So it’s not in all the straights. It’s mostly in those three straights. Then overall grip, probably, a little bit. But we are not that bad in the corners actually if you compare to the others.

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Overall, Leclerc doesn’t seem too concerned about his starting position for Sunday’s race. Moreover, he sounded quite confident that Ferrari have been unusually performing better on race pace.

So, can the Prancing Stallion manage to secure double points finish at the Styrian Grand Prix?

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Rohit Kumar

914 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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