Charles Leclerc has revealed that a mistake whilst judging the weather conditions cost the Ferrari driver a shot at the front-row as he qualified fourth for the 2023 British Grand Prix.
The Monegasque was 0.175s down on Lando Norris, who qualified second in his upgraded McLaren.
Leclerc admitted that he added too much load to the front wing, a set-up change that saw him begin to lose the rear end of the car around the lap after he mistakenly felt the track was wetter than it was.
“In Q3, I did not expect the sun to come out that much,” Leclerc said to the media. “I went a bit aggressive with the front wing and I lost the rear in some corners and that cost me quite a bit of time.
“So it’s a shame because I think the front row was possible, but it’s great to see both McLarens in front and it makes the race exciting.”
Lando Norris was joined by Oscar Piastri in third as McLaren secured their best qualifying result at a British GP since 2008.
Leclerc will have his teammate, Carlos Sainz, just behind him in fifth after the Monegasque beat the Spanish driver by just 0.012.
Verstappen starts on pole for the fifth F1 race in a row after out qualifying Norris by 0.241s.
Leclerc working hard for improvement
Leclerc said that in the Austrian GP, he adapted his driving style in order to protect his tyres from degradation and revealed that he has worked hard to adapt his approach for wet conditions too.
The Monegasque admitted that the damp environment is a bit of vulnerability of his, but that he is improving in this area.
“I’ve been working for quite a bit in the last few weeks because I knew this was one of my weaknesses.” Leclerc said. “Today, I felt that by changing a few things, in terms of tools and driving style, it went in my direction and that is a step forwards.
“I still need to go another step forward, but this is a good step in the right direction.”
Competitive wet sessions have been surprisingly frequent in the 2023 Formula 1 season, as Monaco, Canada, Austria and now Britain have all experienced a soaked track exposing Leclerc‘s weakness more than in previous years.