Ferrari struggled “massively” with F1 tires in qualifying

The Monegasque driver, who is bidding for a victory at the Hungaroring to try to keep his title hopes alive, was unable to fully capitalise on engine problems for rival Max Verstappen as he ended up third on the grid.

Reflecting on the afternoon, where the ability to switch the tires on for a single lap proved key to the pace at the front, Leclerc said that things had not been easy for him.

“Today, it’s not been a great day,” he said. “I’ve been struggling massively with the tires and just had a lot of inconsistency to put the tires in the right window with those conditions.

“I struggled to put a lap together, but we’ll look into it. I’m pretty sure we’ve got the pace in the car to come back a bit more [towards] the front tomorrow.

“So we’ll focus on that. And hopefully we have a better Sunday.”

Ferrari’s long run pace on Friday had been impressive in the hotter conditions, and that form has left Leclerc a bit more optimism about how things will pan out, as long as the team finds answers as to what went wrong today.

“The pace is there,” he said. “So we just need to understand what went on with the tires today. And I’m pretty sure that we can come back tomorrow.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz, who was pipped by Russell at the very end, blamed a few snaps of oversteer in the final sector for losing out on the top spot.

“I felt like I had the pace to do a pole position,” said the Spaniard.

“It went away from us there in the last sector with a few snaps through the lap. But congratulations to George because he must have done a pretty good lap there at the end. And yeah, we will race from P2 tomorrow.”

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Sainz shared Leclerc’s optimism that Ferrari could turn things around and move forward to go for the win on Sunday.

“I think we have the pace,” he added. “Obviously the start and the tire management will play a key role like always.

“The Mercedes pace is a bit of an unknown and we will have to see how the race plays out tomorrow. And if we can get them at the start then better, but I think it will be an exciting race.”

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