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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc fires back at critics after Miami sprint qualifying lap

Charles Leclerc starred during qualifying for the Miami sprint race as he vaulted himself to second place, slotting in behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Leclerc Miami FP1
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc has claimed his effort during sprint qualifying in Miami should “stop” criticism of his recent one-lap performances.

Having missed most of the sole practice session after a spin, Leclerc launched himself to second place for the sprint race behind polesitter Max Verstappen.

Leclerc has struggled to extract one-lap performance at recent rounds and was out-paced in qualifying by team-mate Carlos Sainz in Australia and Japan, as well as sprint qualifying last time out in China.

However, the Monegasque sees his strong attempt in Miami as a response to those who questioned him.

“Qualifying [was] a weak point for two races in a row at one point,” Leclerc said. “China was a little bit better but we didn’t have the car to actually show that.

“[It’s come] on such a difficult weekend because obviously, I did one lap in FP1, so I had to go in quali and go straight away flat-out.

“We are allowed to only use one set of tyres in SQ1 so it was very, very tricky, but straight away I felt the feeling, and the hard work that I’ve done earlier in the season to try and put the tyres in the right window has paid off.

“So I’m happy, because there are so many talks now and you are as good as your last race in this sport. Obviously when you have two races in a row where you are bad in qualifying, which I haven’t done a great job [in], people start to talk, so it’s good to stop that.”

Leclerc aiming for Miami win

Leclerc has backed himself to maintain the level of performance going forward and continue to extract strong one-lap pace.

“But now obviously [I] need to work in the consistency and try to stay at that level, put those tyres consistently in the right window as I’ve done in the past.”

Leclerc is yet to take a sprint race win in F1, while Verstappen is gunning for his ninth on Saturday in Miami.

However, Leclerc is determined to challenge the three-time world champion all the way to the chequered flag.

“A P1,” Leclerc stated when asked what he is aiming for in the shorter race.

“I did one lap [in FP1, so] I have no idea about our race pace, but I really hope we can have a good Sprint and have a good race pace to have hopes for the win on Sunday.”

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