Charles Leclerc’s confident he can convert pole position into a first win of the season at the Las Vegas Grand Prix after being quick throughout every session.
The Ferrari driver led the way in FP2 before quick times on medium tires in final practice, although not using softs left him far down the final classification. Leclerc was soon topping the times throughout qualifying and secured pole as part of a Ferrari one-two, although he was disappointed in his own performance in Q3.
“To be honest, I felt confident from the first lap in FP1,” Leclerc said. “The car has been great. Having said that, we’re always very strong in qualifying but then we obviously know that our weaknesses are in the race, and this is still to be seen tomorrow. The car has felt great overall until now, so I really hope we can have a good race tomorrow.
“I’m not happy with Q3, but at the same time, you can only be happy when you are on pole. I think in Q2, it was probably the best laps I’ve done in a while. Both of them were really, really good. Then in Q3, I didn’t put things together, and I was always losing a tenth here and there. But at the end, I managed to do more or less the same lap time as Q2. But I think there was quite a bit of track improvement, so I should have gone faster.
“The car had felt great again. But it’s the way it is. It’s always tricky on street tracks, but I enjoy these qualifying sessions. How can you not enjoy when it’s going all well like this and the car was going good again. So it was a good session for us.”
Although Carlos Sainz was second in qualifying, he’ll start from 12th due to a grid penalty for a power unit component change, moving Max Verstappen up to the front row. Leclerc admits the world champion remains the favorite in race trim but feels he has his best chance to turn his third pole position of the last four races into a victory.
“Well the confidence is high because we are starting first. It’s the best position to start from. On the other hand, we know that Red Bull is going to be very strong and Max obviously is going to be very strong on race pace. But I feel like we’ve had positive signs this weekend on the high fuel, more than other races. I hope we can convert that pole position into a win.”