Charles Leclerc misled by Ferrari’s simulation data over Alfa Romeo’s pace

Michelle Foster
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc with his hands to his visor. Ferrari Canada June 2023

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc with his hands to his visor.

With his team-mate Carlos Sainz out of qualifying in Hungary in 11th place while both Alfa Romeos progressed, Charles Leclerc thought Ferrari’s Friday simulations over their rival team’s pace were “wrong”.

Turns out he was the one who was wrong.

Sainz was eliminated in Q2 at the Hungaroring where he was only 11th fastest, ironically booted out of qualifying by Leclerc who would go on to qualify in sixth place behind Zhou Guanyu.

Charles Leclerc thought Ferrari’s simulation was ‘wrong’

It was a day in which Ferrari faced added competition for a spot in Q3 with the Alfa Romeos having their best Saturday of the season that eventually ended with Zhou in fifth place and Valtteri Bottas, P7.

That had been predicted by Ferrari on Friday night but Leclerc revealed he blew that off.

“They were very strong, yesterday the team showed me the simulations of what we think they will be like, and honestly they were alright, the simulation ahead of today,” he said.

“And yesterday I was like, ‘there might be something wrong in that and it might be a mistake,’ and they proved me wrong today because the team expected it.

“We have a lot of work to do. It’s very difficult to understand because of my knowledge, I haven’t checked, but I don’t think they had any particularly big upgrades for this weekend.

“But then from one weekend to the other, everybody is changing and struggling one weekend and fast the other, so it’s very difficult to understand.”

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It is, however, not just Alfa Romeo who Ferrari drivers will have to battle for a solid points haul on Sunday.

“McLaren, Alfa Romeo, they are all quick here this weekend,” said Sainz.

“I don’t know if it’s a track special or is just simply a matter of track characteristics, us not nailing the car set-up or the tyre preparation, we need to analyse.

“But we’ve been on the limit all weekend with the medium compound and even in all compounds, we’ve just haven’t been top four, top five, how we should or how we used to be.”

Read next: Why Lando Norris poses big threat to Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in Hungary