Leclerc has ‘no explanation’ for Ferrari’s poor wet-weather qualifying pace in Turkey
Ferrari looked among the strongest of all in final practice for the Turkish Grand Prix, but that performance deserted them when it mattered in qualifying, with Charles Leclerc having no answers for why they ended up six seconds off the pace in Q2.
Leclerc was on the backfoot from the start of the session, after poor first runs in very wet conditions left him in the drop zone when the red flag fell. He battled his way through, but like his team mate Sebastian Vettel, couldn't find the necessary lap time in his SF1000 in Q2, forcing him out in 14th with Vettel ahead in 12th.
His disappointment was underlined as he asked his engineer for the P1 lap time on his return to the pits, only to be left gobsmacked when he discovered he was so far off it.
“I have no explanations, absolutely no explanations,” said Leclerc. “In the heavy rain in FP3 this morning, we were competitive. We were probably one of the fastest cars out on track, coming into qualifying six seconds off.
“We’re not speaking a few tenths, we are six seconds off which is absolutely huge. I have no explanations for that. We need to understand what we are doing wrong in the rain because this is not one time, but it’s been a few times.
“In the rain, we are struggling more than the others, and we’re not speaking about small differences. I don’t know what could be the cause because again this morning, it was raining and on intermediates, we were competitive. So no explanations.”
With that in mind, Leclerc is hoping the forecasted rain on Sunday stays away.
“I hope it’s going to be dry,” he said. “In the wet, it wasn’t fun at all, this morning I could find the grip and make the tyres work but it was not the case in qualifying. If it’s like this morning, I hope wet. But we cannot rely on this, so will I hope for dry.”
For his part, Vettel felt Ferrari had more pace in the car than they were able to display in qualifying.
“It was tough,” he said. “We struggled to get tyre temperature. It has been a tricky session. It is disappointing we didn’t make it through because even though it has been slippery, we looked OK the whole weekend – so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
He added: “It will be a difficult one starting on the dirty side. I think the pace is better than P12, but I don’t know what the conditions are going to be like tomorrow.”
This was the fourth time in 2020 that Ferrari did not feature with either car in Q3, though this is the first time in 11 races that Vettel outqualified Leclerc.