Both Ferraris were eliminated in Q2 at the Belgian Grand Prix, and Charles Leclerc said he understands their fans’ disappointment.
This time last year at Spa-Francorchamps Leclerc set a record 1:42.519 to take pole for the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix, over 0.7s ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel who lined up for the race in P2.
Skip forward to 2020 though and it’s a far different story. Ferrari’s blistering one-lap pace is long gone and both cars were eliminated in Q2 with Leclerc managing only P13 on the grid, whilst Vettel qualified P14.
Alarmingly, that was their best positions for any session of the race weekend so far.
As has been the case throughout 2020, Leclerc simply doesn’t have an “explanation”.
“To be honest it’s very difficult to find an explanation,” he told Sky F1.
“It’s a big step back from the others so we need to try and find the main issue to address it.
“It’s not a good day, but it’s like this at the moment so we need to keep working very hard, I think everyone in the team needs to keep their heads up even though it’s very difficult in times like this.
“I can also understand the fans at home are very disappointed, it’s understandable, but we will try to make the best race possible tomorrow even though we can’t expect any miracles.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) August 29, 2020
That being said, P13 was better than Leclerc had expected going into qualifying.
“It was better than we expected, I’m very happy with my lap, unfortunately it doesn’t feel good once you do a good lap and then you finish P13,” he said.
“But it’s life at the moment. Today we tried to do our best, and P13/P14, I don’t think there was much more in the car today.”
The race thankfully for Ferrari is another matter and Leclerc this season has scored two podiums through taking full advantage of any opportunities that come his way.
Rain is also a possibility, so how does Leclerc rate his chances for Sunday with Ferrari going for a different setup compared to the one they had used on Friday?
“It will help a little bit in the race, but overall we were really poor in terms of race pace,” he admitted.
“We didn’t do many laps but we were very slow.”