Charles Leclerc on latest Ferrari blunder: ‘Beautiful, f***ing beautiful’

Sam Cooper
Charles Leclerc looks disappointed. Sao Paulo, November 2022.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc following qualifying. Sao Paulo, November 2022.

Charles Leclerc was furious with his Ferrari team after they sent him out in Q3 for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix on intermediates, the only driver on that choice.

With rain threatening, even before the session had started every car was lining up in the pit lane to get on track as soon as possible to record a fast lap.

The two Ferraris lined up behind eventual pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen, but there was a key difference in the coloured circle around the tyres of each driver.

Carlos Sainz’s matched the colour of his car and that of every other driver, while Leclerc had the green signalling the intermediates.

Even before the session had begun, Leclerc noticed something was up and asked the team if he was the only one on inters, to which they replied yes.

He tried to put in a quick lap but was clearly slower than the rest of the field and even held up Sergio Perez as the Red Bull was on a quick lap.

As we have seen throughout the season, there was yet more confusion between team and driver at Ferrari with Leclerc told to pit a few seconds after he had already passed the entrance.

With the rain not coming, Ferrari were forced to abandon their plan and bring in Leclerc for a switch to slicks. The Monégasque had some choice words for the team on his return to the garage.

“Did everyone get a lap in?” Leclerc asked.

“Yes, they did,” was the reply.

“Nice,” Leclerc said sarcastically. “Beautiful, f***ing beautiful.”

Soon after Leclerc had the soft tyres on, George Russell beached himself in the gravel and brought out the red flags. Once the session had got back under way, the rain arrived – which meant the times the drivers had already set would be the quickest they could achieve.

For Leclerc, that meant P10 and another choice of strategy that had cost him.

“We were expecting some rain which never came,” Leclerc told Sky Sports F1. “I will speak with the team and try to understand what we can do better in those conditions, but extremely disappointed. The pace was there but whatever.

“I accepted the decision to go onto inters and then I just waited for the rain that never came.

“We still have the car but now we need to get on it and obviously do everything good for the rest of the weekend.”

That incident was not the only one to enrage Leclerc during qualifying with the Ferrari man swearing at Yuki Tsunoda for failing to clear a path while he was on a quick lap.