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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc reveals Verstappen qualifying shock

The Ferrari driver missed out on pole by 0.048s with his best effort, after setting an impressive middle sector.

Leclerc Austria
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc has conceded the narrow margin to Red Bull's Max Verstappen in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying came as a shock.

The Ferrari driver's best effort - a 1:04.439 - was just 0.048s off Verstappen's pole lap, with Leclerc gaining most of the time in the middle sector, where he set the session best.

He will make his second consecutive front-row start alongside the Red Bull driver, with Ferrari's recent batch of upgrades providing a welcome boost in performance.

"It feels good to finally have a clean qualifying again and to be back on the front row," said Leclerc.

"The feeling has been a bit better in the last few races. In Q1 and Q2 it was all about building up to that lap in Q3, then I managed to put everything that I wanted in the last lap of Q3.

"I don't think we expected it to be so close to Red Bull, so it's a good step forward. First of all, I would like to thank all the guys back at the factory.

"It's only qualifying but the work they've done in the last two or three weeks to bring the package earlier than planned was really, really impressive and that helped us to have a good performance today."

Leclerc: Race day about making Red Bull's life 'difficult'

Leclerc expects it to still be difficult for Ferrari to match Red Bull's race pace on Sunday, but believes they can make life "difficult" for the team after promising signs in Montreal.

"Our race pace looked quite good in Montreal. But again consistency is where we need to focus, so we really have to see on Sunday," he added.

"We've got the same pace as Montreal, but Red Bull for now is quicker on race day, so it's going to be difficult but we will do everything we can to make their [Red Bull's] life difficult."

F1 2023 Austrian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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