Charles Leclerc admitted he expected the McLaren F1 Team to lead the midfield battle in Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix so it came as a surprise for him to outqualify both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne on Saturday.
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team driver will start thirteenth on the grid and was less than a tenth of a second away from eleventh placed Kevin Magnussen but qualifying ahead of both Alonso and Vandoorne was unexpected as the McLaren duo appeared to struggle for performance around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“Not really, actually this is a bit of a surprise as [on Friday] we expected them to be on top of the midfield,” said Leclerc to Motorsport.com.
“For us it was quite clear they were on top of the midfield, but [in qualifying] they seemed to struggle a bit more, so it was a surprise to me.”
Leclerc himself was positive about the outcome of Qualifying but the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve hides a little bit of the C37-Ferrari’s shortcomings, which he feels comes when more downforce is needed. It was still pleasing for the Monegasque racer though to make it through to Q2 for a fourth consecutive weekend.
“It felt great,” said Leclerc. “A very positive day for us. Fourth Q2 in a row, I could not be happier. I think we maximised the car that we had here. We had a very good balance, I’m very happy with the lap, it’s a great day for us.
“I think our big defect for now on our car is the lack of downforce. When we come to a track like this where we don’t really need much downforce, basically it takes off a little bit our defect, so it is placing us a little bit better.
“Hopefully we will improve on that matter and we can come back stronger on the tracks where we need a bit more downforce.”