Ferrari in meltdown as Charles Leclerc fumes over key error

Charles Leclerc says Ferrari's stretegy in qualifying has left him in a 's***ty situation' for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc.
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc said he was 'frustrated' after the team didn't listen to his call to change tyres in qualifying, leading to him missing Q3. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Ferrari have endured yet another disastrous F1 qualifying session, this time at the Canadian Grand Prix, with Carlos Sainz handed a three-place grid penalty and Charles Leclerc left fuming at his team after a crucial misjudgement left him starting outside the top 10. The Italian team has struggled to live up to the early promise shown this season, with matters made worse by Leclerc's issues being largely self-inflicted.

Drivers were challenged by wet and dry conditions in qualifying overnight, with Leclerc burned badly by a misjudgement of the conditions which left him stranded on intermediate tyres on a drying track. Most drivers in Q2 started the session on slicks, hoping to get a quick lap in before rain began to fall. Unfortunately for Leclerc, despite pleading with his team to come in for dry tyres, Ferrari insisted he get a 'banker' lap on the inters before coming in to change.

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Meanwhile many other drivers, including Australia's Oscar Piastri, got their first run in on the significantly faster dry tyre before the rain fell. This left Leclerc with no chance to improve on his earlier time once the track was wet.

Ferrari's blushes were spared somewhat too thanks to a similar misfortune suffered by Red Bull's Sergio Perez. Leclerc will start from 10th, Perez 12th.

Separating the pair is Sainz, who had qualified eighth initially but was penalised for impeding Alpine's Pierre Gasly on a hot lap in Q1. Gasly had been approaching the final chicane at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at over 300 kp/h, only to encounter a trundling Sainz all but blocking his path.

“[He] should be banned for such a thing,” Gasly said. “I’m coming at 300. What the f*** do they think.”

Sainz' manoeuvre also drew criticism from commentator Martin Brundle, who labelled it an 'unacceptable' piece of driving. However it was Leclerc who was truly frustrated at the end of qualifying.

While his grid position was improved somewhat thanks to his teammate's penalty, the Monegasque driver was nonetheless filthy at the team's indecisiveness. He said he had been put in a 's***ty situation' as a result.

“We will have a talk. We need to keep it inside the team but I’m really not happy today, once again,” he said after qualifying. “It creates frustration and … we need to be better than that but I’ve been saying that for a while now.

"It’s frustrating and I hope they will listen to me a bit more in the future. Our performance had been good in FP2, so it’s even more a shame but it is what it is.”

Max Verstappen to start from pole in Canadian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton qualified fourth, one spot ahead of George Russell in the other Mercedes, while Lando Norris claimed seventh for McLaren, before the trio were elevated one place after surprise P2 qualifier Nico Hulkenberg was penalised for an infringement on his cool-down lap. Norris' teammate Piastri recovered from a qualifying shunt to put himself ninth on the grid for Sunday's race.

Max Verstappen has been in a class of one this year and the Red Bull man kept his composure in changeable conditions to take an impressive pole. The two-time world champion was quickest off the mark in Q3 before Piastri's collision on the exit of the second corner led to a red flag.

Oscar Piastri is seated inside his McLaren.
Oscar Piastri qualified eighth for the Canadian Grand Prix, despite spinning out in the wet conditions of Q3. (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)

The session was delayed for eight minutes and - as the intensity of the rain increased - no one was able to threaten Verstappen's time.

"It was super-slippery out there but we made the right calls at the right times and I am very happy to be on pole," said Verstappen, who will match Ayrton Senna's tally of 41 victories if he wins on Sunday.

"I like driving in the wet. I come from Holland, we are used to driving in the wet."

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