After surprising everyone with a phenomenal P4 on the grid in Sakhir, Charles Leclerc could only muster ninth place in the qualifying session of Abu Dhabi GP. The Monegasque didn’t fear voicing his opinion and let his frustrations show over the team radio.
It has become something of a trademark for Ferrari engineers to ask their drivers to switch on the ‘Slow Button’ after Quali. So, when asked to repeat the procedure just after his final by his engineer, he said, “We were slow. We lost a bit in Quali.”
When his engineer reminded him of his starting position for Sunday’s race, Leclerc lost it.
“Ya ya I know, we were slow, we lose so much.”
Yes, he is. His rage is completely understandable as the team had shown good pace over the practice sessions. They were looking well-placed to have one of their better qualifying sessions of the year.
Even getting out of Q2, he was just a couple of hundredths of P1. Even though his teammate Sebastian Vettel could not get out of the penultimate session for the 11th successive time, Ferrari was looking strong with Leclerc. However, it all unraveled for him in the last session.
The ‘Prancing Horse’ has generally had better fortunes in the race trim than Quali this year. So, fans may not expect this to be too different either, even though it is comparably more difficult to overtake cars in Abu Dhabi.
Ferrari needs a good result here to finish the season with some pride. They look destined to finish a lowly sixth in the Constructor’s standing. However, they must salvage some respect. A clean start, in contrast to Sakhir, may be better for Leclerc this time.