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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc: Ferrari qualifying experiment failed

The Ferrari driver banked second on the grid behind pole-sitter Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.

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Charles Leclerc has described how a Ferrari experiment did not work during Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying.

Leclerc qualified on the front-row for the grand prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit alongside pole-sitter Max Verstappen - the fifth straight race the duo have qualified first and second.

That came after a first Q3 lap in which the Monégasque was 0.800secs down on Verstappen's benchmark time, with the Ferrari managing to whittle that down to 0.319s on his second attempt.

Leclerc put this down to Ferrari attempting a different strategy on its first out-lap in Q3, which ultimately did not prove successful.

"The first lap in Q3, we tried something different during the preparation lap, but that didn't work out and then on the second lap, I put everything together," Leclerc explained.

"That was what was in the car today , so I am really happy with the lap, it is just a shame that we are a bit further away than we hoped in qualifying.

"But I hope we'll have a good surprise and be able to challenge the Red Bulls [in the race].

"We made a step forward compared to last year, I felt more comfortable in the car and it is in a better place for race runs.

"We just have to focus on ourselves, and obviously we cannot change the car for the race, so we will try to optimise everything and see what is possible."

Leclerc also paid tribute to his new team-mate for the weekend Oliver Bearman, who qualified 11th on debut, falling just short of a Q3 berth.

"First of all, I hope Carlos recovers quickly, and Oliver has done an incredible job with only one session in FP3.

"He was straight up to speed, and comfortable with the car, so it is good, and I am happy for him, obviously it is a special day."

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