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‘It always hurts’ – Leclerc ‘disappointed’ as he explains mistake behind final-lap error in Austria qualifying

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: 6th placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari talks to

Charles Leclerc voiced his disappointment at making an error of his own accord during the final moments of qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, with the Monegasque feeling that he had the potential to be higher on the grid than P6.

Leclerc had been giving his all on his last flying lap in Q3 when a mistake into Turn 4 prompted him to try to make up time in the following corners. This strategy backfired for the Ferrari driver as he ended up going off the track, leaving him to question what could have been.

READ MORE: Verstappen storms to pole position in Austria as he heads Norris and Russell

“It’s frustrating because, whenever you know you have the potential to do well and you do a mistake yourself, it always hurts, but it’s like this,” said Leclerc after the session. “It’s not a disaster. P7 is not good, I think a P3 was possible today.

“Turn 1 and 3 was really, really good in my last lap. I was two tenths faster than my [previous] lap and then I did a mistake in Turn 4. [I] tried even more to catch back some time in Turn 6, lost it, tried the same in Turn 9, lost it… It’s life.

2024 Austrian GP Qualifying: Leclerc flies off track on his final push lap

“I think it paid off more than it hurt this year by pushing that way in qualifying. Today it bit me.

“I’m a bit disappointed, especially because with the team we had two or three races where we had a tough time, and I feel like today was an opportunity to be back in the top three, but I didn’t do a good job on that second lap. But the first lap on scrubbed tyres was really good.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the qualifying action from Austria as Verstappen charges to pole

Asked if, with the car seemingly feeling better than in recent weekends, this boded well for Sunday’s race, Leclerc answered: “Yeah, I think it’s looking better than what it looked for this morning, because we are in a different configuration that should help a little bit more the race pace.

“I’m looking forward to it and we’ll see where we are tomorrow.”

Leclerc talks us through his scrappy final lap as he hit the gravel twice

However, with Max Verstappen surging to pole position on a lap of 1m 04.314s and Lando Norris four tenths behind in second, Leclerc feels that his fight will most likely be with the Mercedes cars of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who sit in third and fifth respectively with Leclerc’s team mate Carlos Sainz between them.

“I think Lando and Max is not going to be possible tomorrow,” the 26-year-old conceded. “They are too fast this weekend.

READ MORE: Russell expects ‘a real fight’ during Austrian GP as Hamilton shares problem that plagued his qualifying

“I think Oscar [Piastri] behind is going to be tricky, but he’s starting behind [in P7] so maybe we can keep that position.

“With the Mercedes we’ve been close all weekend, but I feel like, if we do everything perfect, we can beat them.”

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