Charles Leclerc said the Ferrari Formula 1 team’s failure to switch on its tyres during Turkish Grand Prix qualifying that resulted in both cars missing Q3 was a “disaster”.
The Monegasque driver and team-mate Sebastian Vettel had looked set for a promising qualifying showing based on their pace in both the dry and wet practice sessions, with Leclerc second only to Max Verstappen in both FP2 and FP3.
But this was not replicated in qualifying as neither driver could get their tyres working, leaving Vettel down in 12th, two places ahead of Leclerc. However, both will move up one position due to a five-place penalty handed to Lando Norris for ignoring yellow flags.
Writing on Twitter after the session, Leclerc could not hide his disappointment.
“Was feeling really good in the wet during FP3, but we couldn’t switch on the tyres in qualifying for some reasons and it’s been a disaster,” he said.
“Disappointed about today, but the race is tomorrow!”
Leclerc had come on the team radio immediately after Q2 to express his surprise at ending up six seconds adrift of the best lap time.
Speaking after the session, he said the feel of the car in the afternoon had been completely different to the morning and had no proper explanation as to why.
“Unfortunately, our performance was worse than expected, after a reasonably good weekend so far,” he said.
“This morning it was raining quite hard, but I could feel the grip and I was confident with the car. But this afternoon it was a completely different picture.
“We just could not make the tyres work in quali, we were struggling in the rain and being so far off the pace is really not good. I’m hoping for a dry race tomorrow.”
Vettel believed that just a small difference in tyre temperature could have transformed Ferrari’s situation, as both he and Leclerc were left powerless to find more lap times.
“We were struggling just to generate heat in the tyres, and in a situation like this I think a couple of degrees makes all the difference,” said 2011 Turkey winner.
“Unfortunately we were not able to maximise our potential and I felt the extreme wet was our weakest compound.
“I’m quite sure the car was better than P12, but not in these conditions.”
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