Formula 1: Charles Leclerc mates over Sebastian Vettel in the box radio
Ferrari remains in qualifying for the French GP chance against the overpowering Mercedes dominance. On team radio Charles Leclerc complains several times loudly about teammate Sebastian Vettel. Now he describes what he means by his radio message in France.
At the end of Q2, the two team-mates came especially close. Leclerc went behind Vettel for the last quick attempt on the track. Shortly after the pit lane exit, the 21-year-old radioed: "Can you tell Seb, he should drive faster please?"
He felt that Vettel was traveling too slowly on the Outlap. The engineers reacted promptly and communicated this to the German. When Vettel received the instruction, he reacted a little irritably: "How big should the gap be? I'm not trying to kill him."
Leclerc: Hard at "Weakness Q3" worked
Finally, both Ferrari drivers made it to the finish line in time for their last attempt and pulled both into the Q3 on the medium. Addressed in the press conference, Leclerc relativizes his radio messages.
He had felt "not at all" handicapped by Vettel. "It was just that we were twice close on the clock to make it over the start-finish line, so I asked the team if they could not tell Seb that he was pushing so I could can still do it. " That was the only intention, explains Monegasse.
He is "happy" with his qualifying lap of 1: 28.965 minutes. However, the gap to Mercedes - six-tenths of a second - difficult to cope. "Unfortunately, that was not enough today, but we have to keep working, I'm sure we can close the gap."
The third rank was the maximum for Ferrari. Four tenths of a second missed him in second place by Valtteri Bottas. This Leclerc was the only Mercedes pursuers, who could tear up less than a second behind.
"I improved in qualifying but it's still difficult to be happy when you see the gap to Mercedes, who were out of the way for the entire weekend and I'm happy with my own performance."
Because Leclerc has made before the weekend to the task to perform better in qualifying. "It was clear to me that my weakness in the past qualifying sessions was that I did not optimally get the car to work in Q3, so I worked hard."
"A good start will be important"
All the more pleased him now his personally good result. "My Q3 round felt good." The SF90 was well located, but the wind freshened towards the end of the session. Already in the lap, he noticed on the team radio: "The wind was even stronger in the bend 8 and 9. So I really had problems."
A little later he confirms this statement again: "The wind made it difficult, it was quite tricky and I lost a lot of time in turns 8 and 9." On his very last lap, he could only improve by a tenth of a second.
For a thrilling race Sunday, he hopes for a good start. However, he is aware: "It's going to be difficult because Mercedes's race pace looked very strong on Friday and a good start will be very important, let's see what happens next."
It simply will not be easy. In the long runs, Mercedes was seven tenths of a second faster than the Reds, who are second in France. After all, a little hope remains: "We are pretty strong on the straights, but they especially in the corners." Next to him in the second row is Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.
Even Hamilton is happy
Even Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to a duel with the young talent: "I'm looking forward to driving against the guy." Leclerc answers with a laugh: "Yes, because in Bahrain we could not really compete against each other and hopefully tomorrow we will have a good race."
Leclerc only noticed the whirlwind around Vettel's Canada punishment and the protest of his team. "I was not personally affected." The Scuderia had not distracted by this: "No, the preparation was in no way different than usual, the team was totally focused on it."
Updates that the team has brought to the track this weekend (including a new front wing and underbody) have only partially worked, according to Leclerc. "Some work better than others, we have to understand why some of them did not look that positive, and we need to understand that to get better in the future."
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This article was written by Maria Reyer