Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc reveals that he has “worked hard” this weekend to optimise his performance through Turn One and Turn Six, ultimately helping to his 11th pole position at the 2022 Australian Grand Prix.
The Monegasque set a stunning late lap time to beat Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to pole position, which perhaps came as a surprise to him having been out-qualified in both of previous visits to Melbourne by Marcus Ericsson at Sauber and Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari.
“It felt good, even more because it’s a track where I’ve always struggled in the past as a driver,” he said.
“I don’t know, it probably doesn’t fit me as well and this weekend we really worked hard.
“It was a bit messy for the three free practice sessions for me, I managed to do some good laps but not everything together and in Q3 I managed to put everything together so it feels great and I’m happy to be starting on pole tomorrow.”
Both Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez, who will start third, appeared relatively confident of the race pace the Red Bull possesses, but Leclerc hopes Ferrari’s unexpected pace in qualifying might also translate to race performance.
“The car is nice to drive but the Red Bulls were very quick in FP2 during the long fuel run but to be honest we were again quite surprised by our pace in qualifying so everything is possible tomorrow,” he explained.
“We just need to do a good start and then hopefully we can keep the first position.”
The 24-year-old revealed that he had been struggling to get to grips with the newly re-designed and re-surfaced Turns One and Six, so is delighted to have strung those corners together on his final lap in Q3.
“For me personally it’s more the nature of the corners like Turn One, Turn Six, these corners [for] which the turning phase is very sharp, very fast and I just struggle with my driving style in those corners,” he told Sky Sports.
“[I was] struggling to be very precise. I worked a lot on that and I managed to put the Turn One and Turn Six that I wanted on my fast lap so it felt good.”
Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, was left “angry” after qualifying down in ninth following problems in the third and final qualifying session.