The Ferrari driver had improved provisional pole place together with his ultimate run in Q3 in Austin on qualifying, just for Verstappen to pip him by 0.005s earlier than he had his time deleted for exceeding monitor limits on the penultimate nook.
That cemented Leclerc’s third pole place of the 2023 season however was adopted by an alternate together with his Ferrari engineer Xavier Marcos Padros.
Leclerc was initially despondent at being pipped to pole, exhaling on the radio: “For f***s sake, for f***s sake,” at listening to Verstappen’s time was 1m34.718s versus his 1m34.723s, earlier than being shocked into considering it was he who had been demoted.
Talking within the post-qualifying press convention, Leclerc mentioned: “I simply had a coronary heart assault as a result of my engineer instructed me ‘monitor limits…’ then ‘…for Verstappen’.
“And after I heard ‘monitor limits’ I punched the steering wheel and my helmet and [then] I heard ‘for Verstappen’ after which I used to be [thinking], ‘okay, that’s higher information for us!’
“That’s why within the second I simply mentioned to Xavi, ‘please, inform me the identify earlier than the monitor limits as a result of I received too excited’.”
Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23
Contemplating if he nonetheless anticipated Verstappen to be a victory candidate within the grand prix in Texas regardless of the Dutchman now beginning down in sixth, Leclerc mentioned “for positive, as at all times”.
He added: “However Crimson Bull is at all times very robust and clearly Max this 12 months is at all times on it. So, for positive he might be a risk and up there.”
Leclerc bettered his preliminary Q3 1m34.829s time on his second go however described his first effort within the ultimate a part of qualifying as “fairly a bit higher” than the lap that in the end received him pole.
When requested to elucidate why that was the case by Autosport, Leclerc mentioned: “The primary one was a lot cleaner – I put extra of much less the whole lot collectively.
“The second lap was a bit extra ‘let’s go for it and see what occurs’. However when you have got this sort of mentality, then you have got a bit extra errors.
“All in all, I gained extra taking dangers that what I’ve misplaced with a small mistake, so it was only a bit harder to place the whole lot collectively as soon as I began actually pushing in that final lap.
“Nevertheless it paid off, so I’m comfortable.”