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‘Stupid’ Leclerc deserved qualifying crash

Mat Coch

Sunday 28th April, 2019 - 1:24am

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Charles Leclerc

An honest Charles Leclerc branded himself ‘stupid’ after crashing out of qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver was one of the favourites for pole position before a mistake under braking midway through the session saw the 20-year-old slide into the barriers.

It ended his session and delayed qualifying for a second time after Robert Kubica had earlier found the same wall.

With Ferrari appearing to hold a pace advantage, both Leclerc and team-mate Sebastian Vettel headed out in Qualifying 2 on medium tyres at a time when the rest of the field used a set of softs.

However, both seemed to struggle for grip as the delayed session had seen the ambient temperatures drop.

Leclerc though refused to use it as an excuse, and instead accepted the mistake as his own.

“I deserve what happened today,” he asserted.

“I am very sad for what happened but I deserve it. I’ve been stupid, as I said it on the radio. I’ve calmed down but I still think I’ve been stupid.

“I don’t want to say anything stupid but I think looking at FP1, FP2, FP3, also quali one, pole was possible today and I threw all the potential in the bin.

“I just tried to but a bit more brake; well actually I don’t think I put a bit more brake, I just braked as much as I did on the soft, but obviously I was on the medium, and I locked up,” he added.

“But again, I don’t want it to be misunderstood, there’s no problems with the tyres, just myself I think.”

The incident occurred in Qualifying 2, though Leclerc’s time was enough to see him progress.

With Antonio Giovinazzi set to take a grid penalty for taking new components this weekend it will see the Ferrari start ninth at best.

However, should the damage to the Ferrari prove more substantial it could force a pit lane start – where he’d join Pierre Gasly.

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