Leclerc details issue that derailed Ferrari’s Qatar qualifying

Charles Leclerc has explained how an issue on his first flying lap in Q3 caused him to abort his Qatar Grand Prix qualifying effort, before a problem struck.

The Ferrari driver wound up fifth at Lusail after times were deleted for Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, but he was beaten by Max Verstappen, both Mercedes and the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso.

He comfortably out-qualified team-mate Carlos Sainz who was dumped in Q2 and will start 12th, but Leclerc was hamstrung by a problem affecting the SF-23 machine on its second push laps throughout the session.

This, compounded with a downshift through the high-speed sweepers on his first attempt, combined to leave him a little frustrated.

“We had an issue in the high-speed [corner] on the first lap which made me downshift, which wasn’t great,” Leclerc explained to F1TV.

“We lost quite a bit of time there, and then we struggled a lot.

“Basically, the first lap we were very strong but the second lap, whenever we had to do the lap straight out of the box, we were struggling like crazy with the rear tyres.

“That is an explanation why we struggled, then in Q3 on the first run, I had to abort the lap and then in my second run, I had no choice but to do one lap so that is what we did.

“We just need to work for more to try and find the pace straight away.”

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