Another blunder? Charles Leclerc admits to bizarre Ferrari strategy

Charles Leclerc completed just one run in Q3, despite having two sets of fresh Soft tyres in Bahrain.

Charles Leclerc has revealed that Ferrari’s bizarre Q3 strategy at the Bahrain Grand Prix was done purposefully and was not due to a technical issue, with the Monegasque having weirdly jumped out of his car with three minutes of qualifying remaining.

With Leclerc having been in second after the initial Q3 runs, it was expected that the 25-year-old would complete a second run on his spare set of fresh Soft tyres; however, he ultimately stayed in the garage following his sole run.

As a result, he dropped to third behind Sergio Pérez who improved on his final lap, with Leclerc having opted to save a set of fresh Soft tyres for the race on Sunday.

Leclerc explained the logic behind saving a set of Soft tyres for the race, with him believing that starting in third on new Soft tyres puts him in a “better place”.

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“No, there wasn’t any issue,” Leclerc revealed after qualifying.

“I think we were in the fight for pole, which was a good surprise, to be honest.

“I did not expect that after testing and after the free practices, that were a little bit difficult.

“We managed to find that pace for the quali lap which was great. However, we need to keep in our mind that in the race run we seem to be a little bit on the back foot compared to Red Bull.

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“I think we are in a better place starting third with new tyres than starting first with old (tyres).

“I’m not sure if we would have been on pole or not but it would have been close.”

With the top seven in Q3 having been split by just under seven-tenths of a second, the first race of the 2023 season looks set to be exceptionally close.

Leclerc is hopeful that the race will be just as close as qualifying, with him believing that having so many teams in the mix “makes Formula 1 more exciting”.

“I hope it will also be like that on the race runs but yeah, it was very close.

“Aston Martin was really quick, Mercedes was really quick at some points in the qualifying and we are much closer than what we expected which is looking good for the future.

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“I think it makes Formula 1 more exciting, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the races.

“Let’s say that in the race run, we seem to have a bit of a weakness for now.

“Having a new tyre will help us tomorrow but I don’t know how much the picture will change with that. It’s going in the right direction at least.”