Leclerc stars in career best qualifying

Mat Coch

Sunday 24th June, 2018 - 12:55pm

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Charles Leclerc

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc starred in qualifying for the French Grand Prix as the rookie recorded the eighth fastest time for the minnow squad.

The Ferrari junior driver, who has been touted as a possible replacement for Kimi Raikkonen at the Scuderia next season, made it out of Qualifying 2 for the fifth time in 2018.

An incredible lap then saw him progress into Qualifying 3 for the first time in his career.

The performance comes after a difficult Friday for the Monegasque driver, who hailed it as the best recovery performance of his racing career.

“It’s just unbelievable. It’s probably the best recovery I did in my career, from one day to another,” Leclerc explained.

“Yesterday was a disaster. The car didn’t feel great, I was not driving very well, and we changed completely the car today and it felt a lot better.

“I have no words to describe how I feel right now. I just had a smile since I’m passed Q3. Yeah, it’s great. We all should be proud, the team and I, of what we achieved today.”

The turnaround came following a long night with his engineers to solve the problems which blighted Friday’s practice sessions.

“I worked quite a lot with the engineers to find out what were the issues and I think they have been very good to identify what were the exact issues and understood really well what I wanted from the car, and that’s what we did today,” Leclerc explained.

“No crazy things, really, we did all the right things and I’m extremely happy.”

With the Sauber not expected to be a match on race pace for those around him on the grid, the 20-year-old expects a difficult race.

“It’s going to be a very difficult race for me because by the rule we need to start what our quali tyres, which are the softest ones, and that’s not great for us.

“So it’s going to be difficult but I’ll try to maximise and hopefully we can get some points.”

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