Leclerc hopes tyre gamble pays off after unexpected pole fight in Bahrain

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Charles Leclerc hopes his tyre strategy gamble pays off after giving up a chance at pole in Bahrain.

The Monegasque was the closest challenger to Max Verstappen as Red Bull and Ferrari finally revealed their true performance in qualifying on Saturday.

However, at the end of Q3, Leclerc opted not to do a second run, a decision that ultimately allowed Sergio Perez to clinch second on the grid.

"I think we're in a better place starting third with new tyres than starting first or second with old ones," he said.

Also Read:

"We managed to find the pace for the quali lap, which was great. But we need to keep in our mind that in the race run, we seem to be a little bit on the backfoot compared to Red Bull, so having a new tyre will help us tomorrow."

Leclerc had been pessimistic about Ferrari's pole chances after practice but was buoyed by the true performance on the SF-23.

"I think we were in a fight for pole, which was a good surprise, to be honest," he continued.

"I don't know if we would have gotten pole or not, but it would have been close and I did not expect that after testing and after the practices, that were a little bit difficult."

230066 scuderia ferrari bahrain gp 2023 friday

Also notable was how competitive the grid is, with sometimes thousandths of a second making the difference.

“Yes, I hope it will also be like that on the race runs," Leclerc said.

“But yeah, it was very, very close actually. Aston Martin was really quick, Mercedes also was really quick at some points in qualifying.

"But we are much closer than what we expected, which is looking good for the future. It makes Formula 1 more exciting, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the races."