Unhappy Leclerc rues run choices in Imola F1 qualifying

The Ferrari driver had looked to have the edge in pace during the early stages of qualifying but, in the crucial first Q3 runs, it was the strategy options he and Max Verstappen took that proved crucial.

With the Imola track drying out, it was clear that the fastest laps of the session would likely come at the very end.

After an early banker lap, Leclerc elected to back off for a cool down lap to recharge his battery and prepare tyres for a later effort rather than push on for a second attempt.

Verstappen duly did a second push run to grab pole position, and Leclerc’s hopes of then being able to be respond were dashed by a spate of red flags and a late downpour.

Reflecting on how qualifying had progressed, Leclerc said: “It was all about putting the laps in and waiting for Q3 to put everything together.

“This is why it's even more frustrating for me, because when it counts in Q3, I did the wrong choice. 

Ferrari has been the pace-setter so far this season, with Leclerc securing pole positions in Bahrain and Australia, the Monegasque had little doubt that he had the potential to go for pole position.

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