Leclerc ‘closed the eyes’ through Turn 22 in Q3 fast lap

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc with his hands on his head. Qatar November 2021

Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari garage with his hands on his head. Qatar November 2021

Bouncing back from his Friday night crash to qualify P4 at the Jeddah circuit, Charles Leclerc “kind of closed his eyes” as he went through Turn 22.

Leclerc had a big shunt in Friday’s second practice, his Ferrari suffering damage to all four corners while the driver was said to have a sore neck when he woke up on Saturday.

That, though, didn’t stop him from putting in a stellar performance in qualifying.

The Monégasque driver was fourth quickest, half a second down on pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton while splitting the Red Bulls.

He says when he first came up to Turn 22, the scene of his FP2 crash, he had a small moment at that corner and briefly closed his eyes.

“I don’t think we could have expected anything more than that,” Leclerc said as per Autosport.

“The lap was really, really good – really, really on the limit. Turn 22 I kind of closed the eyes on my fast lap, and it worked out!

“It was a very, very good lap, and I’m very happy to be starting P4.

“Eyes closed is just an expression, I’m pretty sure I had my eyes open! But yeah, I lost the rear, and I honestly thought that the end will have been the same as yesterday.

“But this time I kept it on track, and made it stick. So I was very happy.”

The 24-year-old has already shown this season to be good at qualifying around street circuits.

He bagged pole position in Monaco and again in Azerbaijan and puts it down to “confidence”.

“The confidence in the streets circuits is what makes the most difference at the end,” he said.

“And overall, every time we managed to give me a car that gives me the confidence, which was very, very difficult here, especially with what happened yesterday.

“I just had to do step by step from the first laps of FP3 to the last lap in Q3. And in the last lap of Q3 I could finally put everything together and just go for it. And it worked out.

“If you look at Turn 22, I think all day I haven’t been very confident with what happened yesterday, and just in the last lap of Q3 I gained something like two-tenths against all of my other laps before. So I just went for it.”


Leclerc lines up on the grid one point behind Lando Norris in the battle for P5 in the Drivers’ Championship with Ferrari needing to out-score McLaren by just five points on Sunday to bag P3 in the Constructors’ standings.