Leclerc asked Ferrari to abandon "perfect slipstream"

Charles Leclerc asked his Ferrari Formula 1 team to abandon "the perfect slipstream" and send him on-track "whenever the car was ready" for his Belgian Grand Prix pole lap.

Leclerc asked Ferrari to abandon "perfect slipstream"

Leclerc had a comfortable advantage after the first runs at Spa and eventually qualified on pole by 0.7s after improving on his second attempt, while teammate Sebastian Vettel had to battle to join him on the front row.

After securing his third pole of the season, Leclerc said the improvement was down to changing strategy after his first run.

"At first I really targeted the perfect slipstream for the first run in Q3," he said. "But after that I felt the tyres were not ready for Turn 1 and I actually lost quite a bit of time.

"For the second run in Q3 I asked to be sent whenever the car was ready, to be alone and try to do the job alone without slipstreams.

"In my opinion, on my car, it felt better to have tyres in the right window than having the slipstream so we went as soon as possible."

Vettel, by contrast, had to improve on his second run to overhaul Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton for second.

He did not follow Leclerc's lead and ended up part of a gaggle of cars that held each other up at the end of the lap, which he said cost him time.

"It was more important to get the tyres in the right position for me, or in the right place," said Vettel.

"On both laps I was too close to the cars in front and the tyres were not right to start the lap with. It was lose/lose. The straights were good but I was too close and lost quite a lot of time in sector two."

Hamilton locked up and almost rear-ended teammate Valtteri Bottas while trying to slow down on a warm-up lap, and Bottas almost hit another car in the same way.

"On the perfect scenario you have got the tow and the tyres in the window," Hamilton said.

"In Q3 I don't think so, everyone was backing up and we had that slow section, with [Nico] Hulkenberg I think it was and Valtteri and myself.

"And again in the next one, everyone was backing up again into the last corner. The second one was a bit of a better chance but it's still very, very tricky. I don't think it was optimum for all of us."

shares
comments
Hamilton: Traffic situation "dangerous" in Belgian GP qualifying

Previous article

Hamilton: Traffic situation "dangerous" in Belgian GP qualifying

Next article

Renault felt "inspired" by late F1 protege Hubert

Renault felt "inspired" by late F1 protege Hubert
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Belgian GP
Drivers Charles Leclerc
Teams Ferrari
Author Scott Mitchell
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021