Leclerc surprised by Ferrari qualifying pace

Leclerc missed out on pole position in Austria by just 0.048s.

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Charles Leclerc has praised Ferrari’s performance in qualifying for the Austrian GP after the Monegasque narrowly missed out on pole.

Max Verstappen will start Sunday’s race from pole position after securing first for the fourth race running, but Leclerc pushed him all the way and eventually just missed out on the top spot by 0.048s.

The pace marked a significant improvement for Ferrari, with Leclerc in particular suffering in a series of qualifying sessions so far this season.

“I don’t think we expected to be so close to the Red Bulls, so it’s a good step forward,” Leclerc told media after the session.

“First of all, I would like to thank all the guys back at the factory. It’s only qualifying but the work they’ve done in the last two, three weeks in order to bring the package earlier than what it was planned was really, really impressive. And that helped us to have a good performance today.

“It feels good to finally have a clean qualifying again and to be back on the front row, the feeling has been a bit better in the last few races.

“I’ve managed to put everything that I wanted in the last lap of Q3, very close to Max but not enough today.”

Consistency the focus

Despite once again showing his scorching one-lap pace in Spielberg, Leclerc added that Ferrari still needed to do more work before launching a true challenge to Red Bull for a race win.

“Race pace looked quite good in Montreal, but again, consistency is where we need to focus,” Leclerc said.

“So, we really have to see on Sunday if we’ve got the same pace as Montreal, but Red Bull for now is quicker on race day, so it’s going to be difficult. 

“But if we can put them in difficulty, we’ll do it.”

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