RACE DEBRIEF

    Charles Leclerc has never been afraid of a little self criticism, and the Ferrari driver was typically hard on himself again after Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.

    The 22-year-old is looking to lock down third place in the championship this season, but he lost out on a chance to go fastest in qualifying having made a mistake in Q3 – and with a 10-place grid penalty, his fourth place becomes 14th on the grid for Sunday.

    After finishing 0.220s behind pole-sitter Verstappen, with team mate Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton also ahead of him, Leclerc couldn't hide his frustration.

    He said: “I don’t think the pole was out of reach.

    READ MORE: Verstappen snatches sensational Interlagos pole

    AN7T7345_2019111552532836.jpg

    “I’m very disappointed with myself today, I did quite a big mistake on my first timed lap in the first corner which cost me at least three-tenths so it’s my fault and I take [responsibility for] it completely, the team did a great job, I think the car was there to fight for pole at least and I didn’t do the job in the car.”

    Having learned that he was to be penalised 10 places before the weekend – for an engine change – Leclerc’s mindset has been focused on a fight through the pack from the moment he stepped foot in Brazil.

    Charles Leclerc: 'Top six will be very difficult'

    “Anyway,” he continued, “I’ve got a 10-place grid penalty for tomorrow, so it was always going to be a difficult day.”

    His approach on Sunday?

    “Full attack mode.

    “I enjoy starting in the back anytime – then I enjoy a little bit less when I’m fighting for third place in the championship – but it’s life, it’s like this and I’ll try to enjoy as much as possible and come back,” continued Leclerc.

    READ MORE: 5 reasons to watch the Macau Grand Prix

    The other two drivers in the fight for P3 in the championship are pole sitter Verstappen and his team mate Vettel, both of whom start on the front row at Interlagos.

    But it’s advantage Leclerc as he has a 14 point buffer over Verstappen and five more over Vettel – which means we’ll all have an eye on the Monegasque on Sunday afternoon in Brazil.

    2019

    Drivers' standings before Brazil

    POSITION POINTS
    3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 249
    4 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 235
    5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 230