Charles Leclerc seems to sarcastically thank Carlos Sainz for the tow in qualifying

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc waves while walking from his car in parc ferme. Australia April 2023

Charles Leclerc waves while walking from his car in parc ferme. Australia April 2023

Charles Leclerc didn’t hold back after failing to shine in qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix, the driver declaring it was a “s**t lap” before sarcastically thanking his team-mate for a tow.

Having shown pace in the season’s first two qualifying sessions, although that fell away in the grands prix, Ferrari weren’t involved in the fight for a front row spot at the Albert Park circuit.

While Carlos Sainz qualified P5, the Spaniard half a second down on pole-sitter Max Verstappen, his team-mate Leclerc was a further tenth slower and two places back.

Leclerc was not happy and let the team know as he made his way back to the pits after qualifying.

“S**t lap, I had no prep this time,” he said over the radio after his P7 finish.

“Big thanks to Carlos for the tow. Got a bit of speed there, always nice.”

That last comment though seems to have been sarcastic as it wasn’t a tow so much as Sainz being in the Monégasque driver’s way.

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Speaking to the media a short while later, Leclerc said: “We need to check with the team what happened with Carlos in the first sector in Q3, it was clear I had to push for that lap and he was in front of me in that first sector preparing his tyres.

“Yeah, it’s a pity.”

He added: “I didn’t have [fuel for a second push], we were afraid of the rain so we decided to do out and push. But we missed something to be ahead.”

Leclerc’s P7 may have hurt that little bit more given he was on pole position one year ago.

Asked if he expected an easier qualifying, he replied: “Personally I think I have a more race-focused car but it doesn’t justify our seventh place today at all.

“I should’ve done a better job and management.”