Leclerc's P3 came despite "tricky" Ferrari F1 set-up gamble

Charles Leclerc says his surprising third place on the grid for Formula 1's Turkish Grand Prix came despite a low downforce set-up gamble that made things tricky for him in qualifying.

Although Saturday's track action took place in damp but drying conditions, Ferrari elected to commit to a race biased set-up on Leclerc's car that will help boost his straightline speed in Sunday's race.

That choice made it harder for Leclerc to get temperature into his rubber through Saturday's qualifying sessions though. But, after a helpful tow from teammate Carlos Sainz, he got through to Q3 and then grabbed the fourth fastest time right at the end.

With Lewis Hamilton dropping back from pole to take 11th on the grid, it means Leclerc will start third and be in good shape as long as things stay dry.

Speaking about the wing level choice, Leclerc said: "I knew it was going to be a tricky session for us because we decided to go for a low-downforce set-up for this qualifying for tomorrow.

"Eventually I think it is the right choice, but for today it was going to be tricky.

"So in Q2, thanks to Carlos obviously for the tow, otherwise I think it would have been a bit tighter to get to Q3 with the traffic I had in the last three corners."

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, recovers after a spin

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, recovers after a spin

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Ferrari's strong pace - as he ended up just 0.267 seconds slower than pole man Valtteri Bottas - has been a surprise with the leading Mercedes and Red Bull teams often well clear in front.

Asked why he felt the Ferrari was working so well in Istanbul, Leclerc said: "I'm not completely sure to be honest.

"As well as this, it's a bit strange to be honest, because also the midfield seems to be working quite well. We are very close to pole position , everyone is, so it's good to see that."

While he is bullish about his prospects for the race, Leclerc said he would not try anything stupid against the title battling Mercedes and Red Bull cars ahead of him.

"I won't take too many risks with the two first," he said. "We are not fighting with them in the championship. The starts are always tricky, but I won't take too many risks."

Read Also:

shares
comments
Mercedes "in better place" to fight Red Bull than before F1 summer break
Previous article

Mercedes "in better place" to fight Red Bull than before F1 summer break

Next article

F1 set to abandon planned new sporting regulations format

F1 set to abandon planned new sporting regulations format
Load comments
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Prime

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021