Leclerc demands Ferrari answers and prays for rain after Monaco farce

By Chris Myson 25 May 2019 939
Leclerc demands Ferrari answers and prays for rain after Monaco farce

Charles Leclerc has demanded an explanation from his Ferrari team after a strategy blunder in qualifying left him 16th on the grid for the Monaco Grand Prix.

At his home race, Leclerc failed to get out of Q1 as he remained in the garage for the final minutes of the session as other cars set faster times, with the 21-year-old visibly frustrated after his fate was sealed.

Team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who himself left it late to get through the opening session, was the driver who set the time to knock his team-mate out of the top 15 positions. 

It meant Ferrari's gamble not to set a faster time in a bid to save tyres for later in qualifying backfired spectacularly, leaving Leclerc praying for rain on Sunday to give him any chance of claiming meaningful points.

"I don't know," Leclerc, who had been fastest in FP3, told Sky F1 when asked what had happened. "I didn't get an explanation yet in detail. 

"It's a very difficult one to take. I asked [the team] whether they were sure [we were safe]. They told me, 'We think we are'. 

"I said, 'Shouldn't we get out again?' but there were no real answers. I need some explanations – I don't know for now.

"Hopefully it rains and then there will be a bit of [a] lottery in there. If it's dry it's going to be boring. I'll have to take a lot of risks I think, even risking to crash.

"But at the end that's the only thing we need to do now – to try to be extreme in our overtaking because this is a track where it is basically impossible to overtake, so we will see."

This is the latest twist in a frustrating debut Ferrari season for Leclerc, who saw a technical problem cost him in Bahrain when he looked on course for victory, with team orders between him and Vettel another controversial issue from the early races of 2019.

Prior to the strategy mishap, Leclerc had missed the FIA weighbridge and had to be wheeled back after not seeing a signal to stop, but he insisted that incident was not to blame for the result.

"We had plenty of time, even when we went out of the box, to go out again," he said.

"The weighbridge was not a problem – we still had the fuel to go again and only [needed to] change the tyres. No, no, this was no problem." 

Lewis Hamilton will start the race from pole, with Valtteri Bottas in second as Mercedes close in on an historic sixth consecutive one-two. Max Verstappen is third, while Vettel begins in fourth position.

About Author

Chris Myson

Comment