Leclerc answering critics with front row start in Miami sprint

Charles Leclerc believes he’s put a stop to critical comments about his qualifying form after securing second place on the grid for the sprint at the Miami Grand Prix.

Qualifying had been a strength of Leclerc’s after a run of consecutive front row starts, but then he was outqualified in consecutive races by teammate Carlos Sainz in Australia and Japan, as well as the sprint qualifying in China. Leclerc put that down to struggles with tire preparation and was the lead Ferrari in China’s main qualifying session, and after securing P2 in Miami despite missing FP1 he believes he’s ended any questions regarding his qualifying results.

“Yeah, I am [happy],” Leclerc said. “I am because qualifying has been a weak point for two races in a row… China was a little bit better but we didn’t have the car to actually show that.


“On such a difficult weekend — because…I did one lap in FP1, so I had to go into qualifying and go [flat out straight away]. We are also only allowed to use one set of tires in SQ1 so it was very, very tricky, but straight away I felt the feeling, and the hard work I have done earlier in the season to try and put the tires in the right window have paid off.

“I’m happy because there are so many talks now, and you are as good as your last race in this sport. Obviously when you have two races in a row where you are bad in qualifying — where I haven’t done a great job — people start to talk. It’s good to stop that, but now we obviously need to work on the consistency and try to stay in that level and put those tires consistently in that right window as I have said in the past.”

Starting alongside Max Verstappen in the sprint, Leclerc says he will hope for the chance to win Saturday’s race as he currently does not know whether he has the car to challenge Red Bull this weekend or not.

“I have no idea about our race pace. I did one lap again, so I have no idea…but I really hope we can have a good sprint and have good race pace to have hopes for the win on Sunday.”

Story originally appeared on Racer