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‘We are just really slow’ – Leclerc reflects on ‘difficult time’ for Ferrari after Q2 exit at Silverstone

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NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 6: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari leaving the FIA garage after

Charles Leclerc cited a general lack of speed as causing his surprise early exit from qualifying at the British Grand Prix, with the Monegasque admitting that Ferrari need to react quickly in order to bounce back from the “difficult time” they are currently experiencing.

The Scuderia look to have slipped backwards in the battle at the front during recent weekends, and their fortunes did not appear to have improved on Saturday at Silverstone when Leclerc was pushed out of Q2, meaning that he will line up in P11 for Sunday’s race.

READ MORE: Russell beats Hamilton to pole at Silverstone as Norris completes all-British top three

When asked about what had happened – given that he had earlier seemed to be on course to progress to Q3 – Leclerc reflected on Ferrari’s struggles as he answered: “We are just slow. We are just really slow at the moment and we have a lot of inconsistencies with the car.

“I don’t think it quite helps that we are trying to also… we are trying to just assess the situation we are in at the moment and try to understand which are the directions in which we need to push into.

“I felt like yesterday, by splitting the cars [with pre and post-Barcelona configurations], we understood a good amount to use for the future.

‘We are just really slow’ – Downbeat Leclerc explains Q2 exit at Silverstone

“However, that means that maybe you don’t optimise your whole weekend as you are focused on just trying to learn, and when you are speaking about a tenth to go to Q3, it’s all about small details. So at the moment we are just struggling with the situation we are in, and I hope we can bounce back as soon as possible.”

Pushed on whether trying out different specifications is simply a necessary sacrifice when the team have fallen backwards, Leclerc commented: “I think last year we did that in Zandvoort, where it was really a turning point of the season and we did well.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the thrilling action from qualifying at Silverstone as Russell beats Hamilton to home pole

“We shouldn’t over-panic, but it is true that now this difficult time has been there for longer than last year, so we’ve really got to react now and I hope that from next race onwards we can re-optimise the weekend like we did at the beginning of the season.”

It was a slightly better day for Carlos Sainz, a driver who often performs well in changeable conditions like those seen at Silverstone on Saturday. However, despite a solid start to qualifying, the pace seemed to go away throughout the session and Sainz ultimately ended Q3 in seventh place.

“I thought we were on for a positive result, but then as the track started to dry up we started losing competitiveness,” the Spaniard said afterwards. “Proud and happy about Q1 and Q2, but Q3 showed that we’re still lacking.

Sainz reckons Ferrari ‘were always going to struggle’ at high speed Silverstone track

“I still think we didn’t maximise the Q3 result, given the out-lap issues we had with Fernando [Alonso] and Oscar [Piastri] – we were all three battling to get to the flag and obviously you’re never going to prep your tyres and everything well. But I don’t think we were on for a good result anyway.”

The Mercedes cars of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton locked out the front row, while the McLarens were not far behind, and Max Verstappen still managed to put his Red Bull into fourth place despite picking up floor damage following an earlier excursion through the gravel.

READ MORE: Verstappen reveals extent of damage after Q1 off as Perez apologises for ‘letting my whole team down’

Asked what he expects from Sunday – with these teams seemingly being ahead of Ferrari – Sainz also acknowledged that the circuit may not be the most suited to the Scuderia’s car.

“I think we are clearly lacking in a track like Silverstone,” the 29-year-old added. “We saw the high-speed of Barcelona, and Austria we were clearly a step behind all of our competitors. Coming to the king of high-speed like Silverstone, we’re always going to struggle.

“But in general we’ve tried to keep it cool, we’ve tried to put in the car the best possible package, and even though we didn’t maximise everything today, it clearly tells us that we have some homework to do the next few races, and that tomorrow might not be the easiest race but we need to get the points.”

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