Australian Grand Prix: poleman Charles Leclerc reveals his difficulties; Max Verstappen says he expects it to be tight


Charles Leclerc admitted he sometimes struggled to find consistency around Albert Park even though he put his Ferrari on pole for Sunday’s race; watch Sunday’s race live Sunday at 6am on Sky Sports F1

Last update: 09/04/22 11:28

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Karun Chandhok is joined by Charles Leclerc at SkyPad to analyze his lap on pole at the Australian GP.

Karun Chandhok is joined by Charles Leclerc at SkyPad to analyze his lap on pole at the Australian GP.

Charles Leclerc was delighted to secure pole position on the grid for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix after revealing he had struggled around Albert Park throughout the weekend.

The Ferrari driver was consistently in the front in all three practice sessions and secured his place in the lead with a fastest lap of 1:17.868 in Q3.

But Leclerc admitted afterwards that it had been difficult for him to find the consistency he was looking for until this round, although he looked from the outside to have performed very well.

“Overall, I’m very happy because it’s a track where I’ve always struggled in the past and I struggled this weekend,” said Leclerc.

“You probably couldn’t see from the outside because we were pretty quick, but I was having a hard time making mistakes, being inconsistent and I really worked on that to try and get a good lap in Q3.

“I knew it was just about putting everything together and I managed to do that in Q3, so I’m very happy.

“It’s more the nature of corners like Turn 1 and Turn 6 where the cornering phase is very sharp and fast, and I struggled with my riding style in those corners, struggling to be very precise. “

Charles Leclerc felt he struggled in earlier qualifying but focused on preparing for the final lap to claim pole for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

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Charles Leclerc felt he struggled in earlier qualifying but focused on preparing for the final lap to claim pole for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc felt he struggled in earlier qualifying but focused on preparing for the final lap to claim pole for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

World Championship leader Leclerc is aiming to build on a strong start that saw him open the 2022 season with victory in Bahrain and finish second after a thrilling battle with Max Verstappen in Saudi Arabia.

The 24-year-old, whose previous two Grands Prix in Australia ended in 13th and fifth place, expects Ferrari and Red Bull to be level in Sunday’s race as well.

Karun Chandhok compares the best qualifying laps of Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen for the Australian GP.

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Karun Chandhok compares the best qualifying laps of Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen for the Australian GP.

Karun Chandhok compares the best qualifying laps of Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen for the Australian GP.

“We look quite strong, everything is going to be extremely tight,” said Leclerc. “We still have quite a few porpoises and that gives them the straight-line speed advantage.

“They will have a much smaller advantage over Jeddah, so it should be a bit more difficult for them to pass us. But for us, we need a good start and a good first lap, so we will push for that.”

Karun Chandhok is joined by Charles Leclerc at SkyPad to analyze his lap on pole at the Australian GP.

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Karun Chandhok is joined by Charles Leclerc at SkyPad to analyze his lap on pole at the Australian GP.

Karun Chandhok is joined by Charles Leclerc at SkyPad to analyze his lap on pole at the Australian GP.

Verstappen: I expect it to be tight

Verstappen, who will start second with team-mate Sergio Perez a place behind him in third, believes there is more to come from the Red Bull car.

The reigning world champion clocked a fastest lap of 1:18.154 in Q3 and also admitted his own struggles throughout the weekend.

“I would have hoped to start first, but we have to accept where we end, but the whole weekend was a bit tricky for me,” Verstappen said.

“I’ve never really found a stable grip either front or rear and that’s just not nice. For me, that’s definitely been the case all year.

Max Verstappen says he found things

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Max Verstappen says he’s found things ‘difficult’ all year after qualifying second at Australian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen says he’s found things ‘difficult’ all year after qualifying second at Australian Grand Prix

“I just never found a comfortable balance where I could attack the corners, especially in qualifying and that’s a big limitation because it’s something very new for me over the last three years.

“Of course I speak as if I was P18, but I think we have a lot of potential in the car that we are not showing and I think that is a bit of a shame.

Nonetheless, the Dutchman believes Red Bull have shown better levels of performance in racing conditions and expects another close fight with Leclerc in Sunday’s Grand Prix.

“In the race, we have a fairly good balance and in the long run [in P3] it seemed under control,” Verstappen said.

“I expect it to be tight; maybe Ferrari will find something, but hopefully not and hopefully we can have a good battle again.”

Australian GP, ​​provisional grid
1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
4) Lando Norris, McLaren
5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
6) George Russell, Mercedes
7) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
8) Estaban Ocon, Alpine
9) Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari
10) Fernando Alonso, alpine
11) Pierre Gasly, Alpha Tauri
12) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
13) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
14) Zhou Guanyu, Alfo Romeo
15) Mick Schumacher, Haas
16) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
17) Sebastien Vettel, Aston Martin
18) Nicholas Latifi, Williams
19) Alexander Albon, Williams*
20) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin*

*three-seat grid penalties




Sky Sports

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