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Leclerc delighted to bounce back in Sprint Qualifying after working on ‘weak point’

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari prepares to drive in the garage

Charles Leclerc was left satisfied with his P2 result in Sprint Qualifying during the Miami Grand Prix weekend, with the Monegasque pleased to improve his qualifying form as well as bouncing back from very limited running in Free Practice 1.

It was a difficult start to the opening day of track action for Leclerc, having suffered a spin in the early stages of Friday’s sole practice hour which brought out the red flags. The Ferrari driver was unable to record any further mileage during the session, leaving him with little to go on when Sprint Qualifying began.

READ MORE: Verstappen claims pole in Miami Sprint Qualifying ahead of Leclerc and Perez

Fortunately Leclerc hit the ground running in the session and, while he looked quick in the final stages, it was not quite enough to beat Max Verstappen to pole, meaning that he will start from second place on the grid.

Asked if he was pleased with the result given his lack of running earlier in the day, Leclerc responded: “Yeah, I am. I am because qualifying [was] a weak point for two races in a row at one point. China was a little bit better but we didn’t have the car to actually show that.

“[It’s come] on such a difficult weekend because obviously I did one lap in FP1, so I had to go in quali and go straight away flat-out. We are allowed to only use one set of tyres in SQ1 so it was very, very tricky, but straight away I felt the feeling, and the hard work that I’ve done earlier in the season to try and put the tyres in the right window has paid off.

2024 Miami GP FP1: Leclerc spin brings out the red flags in first practice

“So I’m happy, because there are so many talks now and you are as good as your last race in this sport. Obviously when you have two races in a row where you are bad in qualifying, which I haven’t done a great job [in], people start to talk, so it’s good to stop that.

“But now obviously [I] need to work in the consistency and try to stay at that level, put those tyres consistently in the right window as I’ve done in the past.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from Sprint Qualifying in Miami as Verstappen grabs pole

In terms of what he can achieve on Saturday, Leclerc remains hopeful that he and Ferrari can continue to have a good weekend in Miami and thus put themselves in contention for victory on Sunday.

“A P1!” Leclerc answered when quizzed on what he could dream of for the Sprint. “I did one lap [in FP1, so] I have no idea about our race pace, but I really hope we can have a good Sprint and have a good race pace to have hopes for the win on Sunday.”

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-24 on track during

Sainz experienced a "change of behaviour" from his car between FP1 and Sprint Qualifying

Leclerc’s team mate Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, seemed to have a more difficult session. The Spaniard will line up in P5 and revealed after Sprint Qualifying that he had not been completely at one with his SF-24 throughout.

“We had a strange change of behaviour from the car from FP1 to SQ,” explained Sainz. “We were struggling quite a lot with the grip, just struggling to put laps together and sectors together. So yeah, [it’s] something we need to look into because I definitely struggled through the whole quali.

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“When we put the soft [tyre on], I was on a bit of a good lap there but still made another mistake in [Turn] 17 and lost the lap. Not happy obviously, but [we’ll] see if we can turn it around tomorrow and for quali.”

On what kind of car he expects to have for the Sprint race, Sainz commented: “It’s a good question. I don’t know really because the feeling in FP1 was good, but in SQ it was not good, so which one will come is difficult to judge.”

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