Charles Leclerc was delighted to pull a clutch pole position out of the bag at the Spanish Grand Prix, but warns that Ferrari will not take home the victory if they cannot solve their tyre issues.
Throughout qualifying, it was looking like a fascinating battle between Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes, and Max Verstappen had beaten Carlos Sainz to the fastest lap time in the first run, before Leclerc span at the final chicane and ruined his effort.
However, he bounced back and, under immense pressure having seen his initial attempt go wayward, the 24-year-old put in a stunning performance to take pole for Sunday’s race.
Having gone through the tribulations at the start of the final session, the championship leader is thoroughly satisfied with his fourth pole of 2022.
“I feel good,” he said after qualifying.
“It was a very, very difficult session, I mean especially in Q3 because I did a mistake in the first run of Q3 and obviously I only had one lap.
“But it went extremely well, I had a bit of [a] moment on my lap but in the end I made it stick and [I’m] very, very happy with pole position.
“It was a very good lap and the car was amazing too, so yeah very happy.”
However, the Monegasque conceded on Friday that the tyre degradation on the Ferrari was a slight concern, so he hopes it will treat them well during the race.
“I am in a strong position to start the race but we’ve been struggling with tyres the last two races compared to Red Bull,” he explained.
“So Max is just behind, and if we don’t manage those tyres well we will lose that win so we need to get on top of it and do a good job tomorrow with tyre management.”
With Sainz joining Leclerc on the clean side of the grid, the four-time race winner is hopeful that the Scuderia can strategize a victory this weekend.
“I really hope so,” he said.
“I hope we can do a one-two together with Carlos, it would be great for the team and yeah, we will give it our all.”
Leclerc’s late, great effort now means that he has out-qualified his Spanish team-mate in all six race weekends so far this year.