Charles Leclerc set to be handed grid penalty

Charles Leclerc will start the Hungarian Grand Prix in third position, behind team-mate Carlos Sainz and pole sitter George Russell.

Charles Leclerc could be set for a grid penalty at the Belgian Grand Prix after he took his eighth exhaust of the season ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Leclerc had already gone through seven this year following a number of reliability issues for the Scuderia, and each driver is allocated eight from their pool of parts.

Should he take another, he will be forced to take a 10-place grid penalty.

“The exhaust system used by Charles Leclerc is one of the eight new exhaust systems allowed for the 2022 Championship season and this is conformity with Article 28.2 of the 2022 Formula One sporting regulations,” read the stewards’ report.

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Journalist Gianluca D’Alessandro predicted that the Scuderia, between both Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz, are going to have to take the pain of penalties after the summer break.

“Considering that they have reached the limit even with those elements with which they were still inside the pool, it almost seems that Ferrari is preparing the ground to go into penalties in one of the next rounds, maximizing the elements to be replaced (with stocks),” he tweeted.

READ: Fired-up Charles Leclerc doesn’t want to blame his crash on a ‘bird or the wind’

Leclerc qualified third for the Hungarian Grand Prix behind team-mate Carlos Sainz, as Mercedes’ George Russell took a shock pole position.

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The 24-year-old was beaten by his team-mate on both of his runs as Max Verstappen failed to put a clean lap together, qualifying 10th after Sergio Perez had been eliminated in Q2.

It looked as though the Italian team were set for a front row lockout, but in came Russell to snatch his maiden pole position and become the first non-Red Bull or Ferrari driver of the season to take a pole position.

Leclerc revealed that he has trouble getting the car and the tyres into an operating window.

“Mostly we are focusing on ourselves, so today has not been a great day,” he told Naomi Schiff after qualifying.

“I’ve been struggling massively with the tyres and just had a lot of inconsistency to put the tyres in the right window in these conditions, so I struggled to put a lap together.

“We will look into it, but I am pretty sure that we have the pace in the car to come back to the front tomorrow, we will focus on that and hopefully have a better Sunday.

“The pace is there we just need to understand what went wrong with the tyres and I am pretty sure we can come back tomorrow.”

Russell’s team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton had issues with his DRS on his final run, leaving him P7 for Sunday’s race.