Unpredictable Ferrari leaves Leclerc mystified


Charles Leclerc admits that he doesn't know how his car is going to react from one minute to the next, indeed one corner to the next.

It was clear on Friday that Zandvoort was going to be one of those circuits where the "peaky" SF-23 struggled, but surely nobody could predict what a tough day it would be for the drivers, especially Leclerc.

Having taken to the escape road at Turn 1 on a number of occasions the Monegasque's luck finally ran out in Q3 when he lost the car at Turn 9, understeering and going sideways into the barriers, causing considerable damage to the suspension, indeed the entire left-hand side of the car.

"The car this weekend that is extremely difficult to drive," he subsequently admitted. "In Formula 1, it's all about anticipating and knowing what balance you're going to get once you get into the corner.

"But, at the moment, I'm getting into the corner and I have zero idea whether I'm going to have huge understeer or huge oversteer," he added. "That makes it very, very difficult for us. So, it's been a very difficult weekend until now.

"Since FP1, we've been struggling in Turns 1, 9 and 10," he continued. "We changed the car completely (on Friday night) and honestly, there's not much that helps us in these three corners.

"Those corners where you go into the corner, you are releasing the brake, there's absolutely no grip in mid-corner for whatever reason. Then you're just trusting the car on gripping again in the exit, which it didn't on that lap. I obviously ended up in the wall.

"It's just very, very difficult to be on the limits," he sighed. "As soon as you get close to the limit, you just really don't know what's going to happen… so it's a difficult situation."

Leclerc will start the Grand Prix from ninth, while teammate, Carlos Sainz qualified sixth, 1.187s off Max Verstappen's pace.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Zandvoort here.

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Published: 26/08/2023
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