Qualifying in the rain before the Canadian Grand Prix turned out to be as unpredictable as possible (well, if you don’t take Verstappen into account) and eventful. And, perhaps, one of the most outstanding was the departure of Charles Leclerc in the second segment: for the second consecutive weekend, the Monegasque did not even reach the top 10.
Also, after qualifying, the driver was very unhappy that the team did not listen to him and transferred him to slicks too late when the track was wet again.
We find out if the tacticians really screwed everything up again for Leclerc or if Charles criticizes the team in vain. Spoiler: the problem is not in the strategists, but much deeper.
A sea of sensations in the F-1 classification: Leclerc and Pérez failed incomprehensibly, Hulk is second!
chronicle of failure
Qualifying in Canada took place in changeable conditions: the rain subsided or started again, and the drivers tried to get to the track as soon as possible in order to have time to drive in a circle on relatively dry asphalt. Drivers started lining up at the pit lane exit even before the start of Q2, with Leclerc and Sainz running seventh and eighth in line.
Charles told the team on the warm-up lap that the asphalt was dry. Ferrari also clarified that the rain would resume only after six or seven minutes; by this time everyone was on intermediate tyres, and only Alex Albon decided to take a chance on the “software”. Leclerc again offered slicks, and was told that he first needed to put at least some time into the intermediates, plus Verstappen is still on the same tyres.
Leclerc on intermediate tires
Photo: Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images
Max at the first attempt drove a circle in 1:20.135, Leclerc – in 1:20.615, losing one and a half tenths to Oscar Piastri. Immediately after that, both Ferrari drivers returned to the pits and switched to soft, following Verstappen. The rain increased slightly at this point, but Sainz was able to improve the time: 1:20.398, Verstappen took more than a second. But Leclerc could not improve: 1:21.895, then a mistake and a cut on the track, and finally 1:20.824 in the last attempt with slicks.
At Ferrari, they actually went to the pits for slicks later than others, but Sainz and Verstappen, unlike Leclerc, did not stop them from reaching the final. Also, Alonso and Russell broke through in Q3, who in the second segment put their best laps in the intermissions, meaning with enough pace, slicks weren’t mandatory at all. Leclerc remained 11th, 0.76sec behind Sainz.
Who is guilty?
“I don’t know what to say. We made life difficult for ourselves, I am very disappointed, said Leclair after qualifying. “We have to take a step forward because others did the same as us and still entered Q3.” “We discussed this with Charles We had to end the attempt at intermissions to protect ourselves from the red flags, Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur later explained: “Discussions like this are useful if they are carried out in a calm manner.”
The decision of the Ferrari strategists is understandable: the team feared that it would rain at the same time that Leclerc gave up the intermediates and opted for slicks. In addition, there was a risk that red flags would appear, which would prevent Charles from finishing the attempt, and by the time of the restart he would rain. In both cases, the driver would have been last and would have finished in 15th place. Likewise, in this situation, they judged on Red Bull and most other teams.
Both Ferraris enter the track at intermission
And to be completely frank, the culprit behind the qualifying failure was Leclerc, who, on a wet and slippery track, was unable to set up slicks like Sainz did. In the end, it was Charles who made a mistake when a teammate in the same car and on the same tires was able to pick up a circle and go into Q3.
And in this particular case, arguing with the team, Leclerc was mistaken: he had to immediately go to the “software”, like Albon, or calmly set the base time, according to the original plan.
Leclerc on the bridge of the Ferrari
Leclerc’s discussions with the strategists only show that there is no trust in the team. This is Charles’ second consecutive failure in qualifying, and on the previous stage, the Monegasque said something was wrong with the car. Telemetry showed that the driver was losing time in all the left-hand corners, but the engineers found no problem with the car. One gets the feeling that Leclerc simply does not trust the engineers.
At the same time, Charles himself did not gain such authority in the team that the strategists were mainly guided by his opinion. Perhaps the Monegasque lacks a strong character. Or maybe the reason is that lately too often he shifts all the responsibility to the team. Schumacher, we remember, has always stood behind the Scuderia with a mountain, and the engineers, in response, attached much more importance to his words.
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