Charles Leclerc had ‘loads of problems’ with Ferrari engine in qualifying

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, on track. Mexico, October 2022.

Charles Leclerc on track in the Ferrari. Mexico, October 2022.

Charles Leclerc had little positive to report after a Mexican Grand Prix qualifying session plagued by issues in his Ferrari.

Mercedes had gone into qualifying with the momentum having dominated FP3, Max Verstappen in the Red Bull their closest challenger, while Ferrari were faced with ground to make up if they were to join the fight.

Red Bull came good, Verstappen claiming pole for the Mexican Grand Prix with a buffer of three tenths of a second over the Mercedes duo, but Ferrari continued to struggle.

Carlos Sainz managed P5 on the grid, while Leclerc ended up another couple of tenths back, resulting in P7 being his starting spot.

Between the Ferrari pair on the grid will be Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, the Finn flying throughout all three sessions.

Leclerc was struggling to find a positive to take, explaining he had been plagued by engine and driveability issues, while the Ferrari F1-75 was simply “too slow” down the straights.

To the suggestion he must be disappointed, Leclerc told Sky Sports F1: “Yeah, we need to look at it. I’ve been losing quite a lot of time down the straights since qualifying really, also FP3 was not great. So we need to look into it.

“We had loads of problems with the engine today for some reason. I had very bad driveability in all the high speeds. The car was not really responding to what I was doing with the throttle and then down the straights we were just slow.”

Asked if the issues had been due to the high altitude of the AutĂłdromo Hermanos RodrĂ­guez, Leclerc replied: “No, no, there was definitely something…”

Following his pause, it was put to Leclerc these are not traditional problems with the F1-75, to which “no” was the reply.

Race pace has been the issue for Ferrari in recent rounds with one-lap pace proving to be their strength, so the events of Mexico will be concerning for the Scuderia to say the least.

At this stage, Leclerc has no real idea how Ferrari will get on come Sunday.

Asked how competitive Ferrari could be in the race, he replied: “I don’t really know for now, I need to speak with the team to see what we can do for tomorrow.

“But obviously we cannot change much so I’m not sure what we can do for tomorrow.”

Read more: Max Verstappen unstoppable in claiming 19th F1 pole position in Mexico