During his opening run in the final leg of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, Ferrari accidentally fitted a set of fresh soft tires on Leclerc’s car.
The team planned to send him on used softs for the first run before giving him a fresh set of the red-walled compound for the Q3 efforts.
Leclerc radioed for the tire call and was told by the team: “Sorry, that was a mistake.” He finished the session fourth overall, more than eight tenths off Max Verstappen’s fastest time after failing to set a second run.
“I think there was a miscommunication, it wasn’t a big deal,” Leclerc said after qualifying. “But of course I mentioned it because I was a little surprised.
“But yeah, it won’t change anything, for the rest of the weekend.”
Asked by UKTN if there was any frustration over another minor mistake by Ferrari this year, Leclerc replied: “No.”
Leclerc will start the race from 16th on the grid after serving a power unit penalty, one place behind title rival Verstappen, who also takes a grid drop.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75
Photo by: Erik Junius
Verstappen also failed to complete a final run in Q3, finishing more than six tenths of a second ahead of the field, demonstrating his advantage at Spa.
Leclerc said Red Bull had been “extremely strong” over the Spa weekend and the pace was “a surprise because I think we expected to close the qualifying gap a little more.”
“They have found something this weekend that is quite impressive,” said Leclerc.
“It’s a big gap. So I hope it will change in Zandvoort. But before we have the race tomorrow, we seem to be a bit more competitive. Let’s see how it goes.”
Verstappen has been tipped to fight back from 15th on the grid to win the race by Mercedes driver George Russell. Verstappen himself said he would be disappointed if he didn’t recover to finish on the podium.
“I will also be disappointed if I don’t get back on the podium, but since he is with me, if he has the pace today, it will be very difficult for me to get back on the podium,” said Leclerc. .
“Yeah, we never know. A good first stint, a clean race and I’m sure we can get back to the front.”