Leclerc Left ‘Satisfied’ after Q3 Appearance at Circuit of the Americas

by Paul Hensby
Charles Leclerc - Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team - Circuit of the Americas

Charles Leclerc was satisfied to find himself inside the top ten in Qualifying for the United States Grand Prix on Saturday and feels, on his side of the garage at least, that the maximum performance was extracted from the C37-Ferrari.

The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team racer will start the race at the Circuit of the Americas from ninth on the grid, but despite being happy with being inside the top ten again, he was left to rue a light flurry of rain during his one and only timed lap in Q3 that potentially cost him the chance of getting even higher up the grid.

His best time of 1:35.069 was just 0.275 seconds slower than what Esteban Ocon managed for the Racing Point Force India F1 Team in qualifying sixth, so it may have been possible for Leclerc to be the best of the rest behind the leading three teams on Saturday.

“I am satisfied with the way the day went,” said Leclerc.  “Finishing in Q3 is always great, and I am convinced that we extracted the maximum of our potential – especially in Q2 and Q3 today.

“We planned to drive only one fast lap in Q3 to gain advantage of the track evolution, however, it started to rain a bit which probably put us on the back foot. Nevertheless, it was a great qualifying and I look forward to the race.”

Team-mate Marcus Ericsson was dissatisfied with his own result in Qualifying after being eliminated in Q1, although he felt his fastest lap actually felt quite good behind the wheel.

The Swede found himself down in nineteenth position overall, although he does gain two places thanks to the grid penalties for the two Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda drivers, and feels that he can gain positions during the race.

“The qualifying outcome is disappointing, because I was quite happy with my lap,” admitted Ericsson.  “The car felt good, and the driving did as well, so we will spend some time investigating what happened and how to improve for tomorrow.

“Overall, we have been quite strong this weekend in the limited time we have spent on track due to the difficult weather conditions yesterday. The lack of running will spice things up, as all teams are in a bit of an unknown in terms of the preparation ahead of the race.

“I still look towards tomorrow feeling optimistic and we will see what we can do.”

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