Charles Leclerc reveals his wish after 'disaster' five-race run

Charles Leclerc is desperate for a clean remainder of his race weekend in Austria following a string of damaging setbacks.

For a time it looked as though Leclerc and Ferrari were going to romp to the 2022 titles, but now it is Red Bull establishing control as Ferrari falter.

Leclerc has not won since the Australian Grand Prix back in April, reliability woes and Ferrari strategy botches letting the 24-year-old down on multiple occasions.

The last five races in particular have been tough for Leclerc, P4 his highest finishing position in that time, so having secured P2 on the grid for sprint qualifying in Austria, he is just after a clean sprint and Austrian Grand Prix to “score the points that we deserve”.

“I just want to have a clean race,” he told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying.

“Obviously, it has been five races that it’s a bit of a disaster on my side. So yeah, I just hope that everything will go clean and that we can finally score the points that we deserve.”

Hamilton's qualifying ends in the barriers 💥😖#AustrianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/vue7GDQYJm

— Formula 1 (@F1) July 8, 2022

Q3 saw two red-flag delays, both of those triggered by a crashing Mercedes.

Leclerc had taken provisional pole at the very end of the session, only for Max Verstappen to pip his time by a mere 0.029s to snatch pole. 0.082s covered the top three on the grid, with Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz set to start P3.

Those delays Leclerc said hampered his ability to get the tyres back into their optimum working window.

“I think we all three [were] very, very close, it was an exciting qualifying,” he said.

“In the last lap I struggled a little bit bringing the tyres back after such a long time in the pits, but Max was just a little bit quicker. So congrats to him and hopefully we’ll have an exciting race tomorrow.”

As the results of sprint qualifying will set the grid for the race, Leclerc knows that he must be very cautious when it comes to choosing his battles.

That being said, if an opportunity is there, then he fully intends to take it.

“Patience will obviously be one thing, but obviously if there’s an opportunity, I will go for it,” he confirmed.

“Tyre management will be a thing, it is a thing it is important here and we can definitely play a bit of games with the management of the sprint race, so let’s see what is possible. If nothing is possible, then I’ll just be patient and wait for Sunday.”

Despite coming so close to pole, Sainz said that there was still time left on the table and he knows where he could have found it.

Nonetheless, he was happy to have been to close to Verstappen and Leclerc on the timesheets.

Asked if there was anything left on the table in Q3, Sainz replied: “Oh, for sure. When you look back, and you see how close it is, you go back to the lap and find places where you’ve left that tenth of a second that could have given us pole.

“The good thing is that we put a good lap there at the end of Q3. It wasn’t easy because the tyres were very cold after the red flag.

“Trusting the car into Turn 1, into Turn 3 wasn’t the easiest, but I know where the lap time is, I just wish I could have done it a little bit better. But I’m going to take P3 and being close to these two guys.”

Sainz expects a tough race weekend from here, citing Red Bull’s tendency to take it up a notch with their race pace compared to qualifying trim.

However, he very much intends on making life difficult for the home team.

“We were quite close today, normally when they are a bit quicker in qualifying, in the race they are definitely quick,” said Sainz.

“So it’s going be a tough weekend from here, but we’ve definitely put ourselves in a good position to attack tomorrow to try and make their life more difficult and to be putting pressure on them.

“I think with two cars close to Max like we are, it will be a good time to put pressure.”

 

 

Source: Read Full Article