Leclerc frustrated following "f****** stupid" mistake


Two weeks after taking pole in Bahrain, Charles Leclerc was always going to be hard pushed to repeat the feat in China, especially as Mercedes has had the edge for much of the weekend.

However, finally qualifying fourth, behind his teammate, it wasn't the ever-critical Italian media that hit out at the youngster but the man himself.

"F***, I did mistakes," he shouted over the radio after the chequered flag had fallen. "Come on, Charles... f***... sh**."

"Positions, Bottas P1, Hamilton P2, Sebastian P3 and yourself P4," came the response. "Sebastian's lap time 31.84, and yourself 31.86.

"Come on! F***," sighed the youngster. "F****** stupid. F****** stupid. What's the pole lap?

"Pole lap, 31.54. 31.54," he was told.

"Stay negative, stay negative," he was then advised, in reference to the need to stay below the maximum in-lap time. "It was a good recovery. From FP3 and all the issues."

"Yeah, but not good enough," said the youngster. "Not good enough. Not good enough from me, on my side. Not speaking about the car, the car was good. I should've done better, that's it."

"To be honest it has been quite a messy weekend from my side from the beginning of the weekend," Leclerc subsequently told reporters. "I struggled to find the car set-up right, I struggled with the confidence with the car and I struggled with the driving, so it was not easy.

"Then coming in qualifying we did some changes, I think I changed quite a lot the driving and was a lot better. Not enough to be in front of the Mercedes or at their level but at least we got closer and myself I think there was a bit more potential, so about this I'm disappointed, but overall it's a positive day.

"Overall I think there are some very positive things also on my side because first practice, second practice and third practice I was quite lost and struggling a little bit. Actually quite a lot.

"I think Valtteri was quick all weekend," he added in reference to pole-man Bottas. "Lewis I felt was struggling a little bit with the car before qualifying. So, it's not such a surprise, I think it was more a surprise to see Lewis struggling in free practice than seeing them both quick in qualifying, we expected that."

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Published: 13/04/2019
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