Charles Leclerc ‘knows exactly’ where Dutch Grand Prix pole position slipped away

Jon Wilde
Charles Leclerc's Ferrari on banking during Dutch GP qualifying. Zandvoort September 2022.

Charles Leclerc admitted he knew exactly where pole position had slipped away from him and into Max Verstappen’s clutches at the Dutch Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver looked to have potentially done enough to secure P1 on the grid at Zandvoort when he claimed provisional pole in the opening Q3 runs.

He was the first of he and Verstappen to then have a final go at setting a time and although the Monegasque clipped another tenth off, it was not enough to stop the Dutchman eclipsing him – to the delight of the home crowd.

Nico Rosberg, watching on as part of the Sky F1 punditry team, thought Leclerc “threw it away”.

And the Monegasque concurred with the German’s view that he had made an error – knowing just the point it had occurred too, costing him the critical lap time.

“I know exactly where I can find it,” said Leclerc, asked by Sky F1 about what he could have done regarding his 0.021sec deficit to Verstappen.

“It’s pretty obvious if you look at the onboard – I did a mistake in Turn 10 and I went very wide. I think I lost like a bit more than a tenth compared to my previous lap.

“It happens, it’s like that when you push at the limits. I think the pole position lap today was in the car and I just didn’t put exactly everything together.”

Nevertheless, there remains hope for Leclerc that he can reverse a decline in Ferrari’s form that set in from round four of the campaign and has left him 98 points behind Verstappen in the Drivers’ standings.

“It’s good to finally be back to where we were for the first part of the season, at least competitive,” he added.

“But anyway happy, because it’s been now for five races that I’m not very confident with the balance of the car in qualifying because in the race we always seem to find the right balance on my side.

“In qualifying I have struggled quite a bit and it was the same today, but at the end we managed to do a good lap anyway. So let’s focus on tomorrow.”

Leclerc will have his team-mate Carlos Sainz starting just behind him in third, followed by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and then Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull.

Asked for the best way to try and beat Verstappen, Leclerc said: “Well, easy way will be a great start – P1 in Turn 1 and then just leave Max behind!

“But if that doesn’t happen again, Carlos and I are in the front so let’s see what we what we can do there.”

Sainz was only 0.09sec off pole position himself – and suggested how he would take out his frustration.

“I’m sure when I go back into the room I will find where the nine hundredths are and I will be hitting my head against the PC,” joked the Spaniard.