Reminiscent of last year’s Q3 and possibly serving as a precursor to today’s qualifying, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris jostled over track position in Monza. Leclerc inadvertently held up Norris, who was on a flying lap. The Mclaren driver didn’t appreciate Leclerc’s move and voiced his frustration over the team radio.
Leclerc, while building up for a flying lap, slowed down near parabolic – the final corner of the lap. The Monegasque was queueing up behind teammate Sebastian Vettel and unaware of Norris behind, who was on a fast lap.
The Briton ended up lifting and backing off from his fast lap. Visibly annoyed, Norris rhetorically asked if drivers’ weren’t aware of the meaning of blue flags. However, Leclerc did apologize to Noris following the Monegasque’s folly.
The pre-flying lap shenanigans are only likely to worsen during qualifying. With all drivers eyeing a tow from other cars, a repeat of last year’s farcical Q3 could be on the cards.
Can Charles Leclerc make it to Q3?
For Ferrari, a car making it through to Q3 is nothing short of a monumental achievement. So far, Vettel and Leclerc have struggled to get to grips with the SF1000 and its twitchy rear.
“I think we expected a bit worse on the low fuel runs – but then on the high fuel runs, we expected a bit better, looking at the low fuel runs!” Leclerc said.
So we definitely need to try and find something for the race, otherwise it’s going to be very, very difficult. We seem to struggle quite a lot with the balance and the overall degradation of the tyres during the high fuel run. So there’s definitely a lot of work [to do] on that but quite positive to see our qualifying pace” Leclerc said, following Ferrari’s Friday runs.
“For now, realistically, we don’t have yet the performance to get into Q3, but we are close to it… I don’t think we’ll be expecting much more than what we’ve shown today on the low fuel, but high fuel, I hope we can fix it, because it was definitely not a good day for race pace today
Thankfully, Ferrari needn’t face the wrath of the Tifosi in Monza this weekend.