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Leclerc has ‘no explanation’ for lack of pace in Qatar as he is knocked out in Q2

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DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 20: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari SF21 in the

Charles Leclerc was at a loss to explain why he simply didn’t have the pace in Qatar Grand Prix qualifying, the Ferrari driver getting knocked out in Q2 and ending up a lowly 13th.

While team mate Carlos Sainz comfortably had the speed to sit in the top 10 throughout, even using the medium tyre to make it into Q3, Leclerc was on the backfoot from Q1 when he had his initial lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.

READ MORE: Hamilton blitzes to crushing Qatar Grand Prix pole under the Losail lights

After languishing in the drop zone in Q2 after a medium tyre run, he was forced onto the softs – but still couldn’t find enough time to progress.

“I have no idea [what went wrong],” he said. “I really have no idea. It was just slow all qualifying. We need to understand what’s gone wrong. I don’t have any explanation to be honest for now.”

He added: “It was a strange qualifying for sure. I am not in the right group. I never felt that I put the tyres in the right window.

Charles Leclerc: 'I have no idea' what went wrong after Q2 exit

“I just slid around, just being limited by grip not by mistakes or an axle in particular. I had no balance problems, just grip, I didn’t have enough grip.”

Sainz will start Sunday’s race on the medium, with his immediate rivals – including McLaren’s Lando Norris – starting on the less durable soft.

“What we did today was a strong qualifying, we put together some strong laps when it mattered,” he said.

“[There was] a lot of suffering because of the tyre situation. If we went with the soft, it would have been an easy pass to Q3. On the medium, it was very tight. In the end, we managed it.

“We start with a different strategy to the others. We have a bit of an offset with tyre wear, which is why we are protecting ourselves with the medium for tomorrow. But it could be a long race so we will try and keep performance at a high level.”

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