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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc highlights key factor behind qualifying disappointment

Charles Leclerc narrowly missed out on pole position in Bahrain and will take the start from second place on the grid on Saturday.

Leclerc Bahrain 2024
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Charles Leclerc has revealed that disruption to his rhythm in the latter stages of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix resulted in a final lap that was unable to challenge for pole position.

Leclerc will start Saturday's Grand Prix from the front row of the grid alongside Max Verstappen, who took pole for the season-opening race.

The Monégasque driver's Q3 effort was just two-tenths of a second down on Verstappen's session-topping time, however it was also three-tenths slower than his own best attempt from Q2.

Having taken to the track at the start of Q3 on used tyres before switching to a new set, Leclerc believes that the change interrupted his rhythm.

“In Q2, I think we did a 1:29.1 one which was more or less the last time that Max did in Q3,” said Leclerc.

“So it [pole potential] was there in the car. I think we lost a little bit of the rhythm with the used set of C3s in Q3.

“You have to readapt to the new tyres and I lost a little bit there but all in all, it's been a positive qualifying.”

Red Bull were heavy favourites ahead of the new season after it dominated last year's campaign, winning all but one race.

Despite qualifying being a close affair in Bahrain, Leclerc is expecting that Verstappen will hold an even greater advantage across a race distance.

“I'm confident we did a step forward,” Leclerc added. “But we have to wait and see tomorrow how much of a step forward we did.

“We really think that Red Bull is still ahead by quite a bit in the race.

“We'll see. But if there's an opportunity, as always, I'll go for it and we'll see what happens tomorrow.”

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