Charles Leclerc has explained the circumstances that led to his crashing out towards the end of the Q3 session in Zandvoort.
The Monégasque driver qualified in ninth place for Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix, having crashed out of qualifying with four minutes remaining in Q3.
Leclerc ran wide onto the grass in the middle sector of the lap, bouncing hard off the barriers as he ran out of room with no chance of recovery in the limited space available.
Charles Leclerc: The car just had no grip
Having spent the majority of his Saturday sliding straight on at Turn 1 and other points of the track, Leclerc explained why he had lost control of the car to end up in the barrier and ruin his qualifying efforts.
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper.
“It’s one of those weekends where the car is extremely difficult to drive,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com, in the aftermath of qualifying.
“Since FP1, we’ve been struggling in Turns 1, 9, and 10. We changed the car completely and, honestly, there’s not much that helps us in these three corners.
“Turns 9/10 is one of those corners where you go into the corner, you are releasing the brake, and there’s absolutely no grip in mid-corner for whatever reason. Then you’re just trusting the car gripping again in the exit, which it didn’t on that lap and I obviously ended up in the wall.”
With both Leclerc and Sainz struggling to slow their car down, particularly at Tarzanbocht, Leclerc was asked whether he felt the car had improved in wet weather conditions over the course of the season.
“Yeah, I think we’ve had these conditions plenty of times this year, and I’m getting more and more comfortable, and I’m actually OK with that,” he said.
“But it’s just a car this weekend that is extremely difficult to drive. In Formula 1, it’s all about anticipating, and knowing what balance you’re going to get once you get into the corner.
“But, at the moment, I’m getting into the corner, and I have zero idea whether I’m going to have huge understeer, or a huge oversteer. That makes it very, very difficult for us. It’s been a very difficult weekend until now, hopefully we can have a clean race.”
Charles Leclerc ‘can’t wait’ for 2024 change of direction
With Ferrari chassis chief Enrico Cardile revealing on Friday that Ferrari are intending a completely new direction in terms of concept for their 2024 car, Leclerc said it’s a relief to hear that as he admitted the current concept appears to have hit a dead end.
“Obviously, I can’t wait. But first, I’ve got a season to finish,” he said.
“But we can only go in another direction because, at the moment, the car is really, really difficult to drive. It’s just very, very difficult to be on the limit, I think we are particularly struggling this weekend. Even more so than what the balance would slow us down, just because we need to be so far off the limit.
“Because as soon as you get close to the limit, you just really don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s exactly what happened in my Q3 lap. So it’s a difficult situation.”
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