Charles Leclerc says he “hasn’t been driving very cleanly” at the Bahrain Grand Prix, as Formula 1 returned to the venue where he claimed his maiden pole position.
Leclerc stormed to a first pole position upon Formula 1’s last trip to the floodlit venue in March 2019 but was never in contention on Saturday amid Ferrari’s lack of performance.
Leclerc trailed team-mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.016s during qualifying but neither driver was quick enough to make it through to the top 10 shootout.
The 23-year-old is set to start the 57-lap grand prix from 12th position on the grid, one place behind Vettel.
“It’s been a difficult weekend on my side, I’ve been struggling with the car since FP1 and it didn’t really get any better,” he said.
“Maybe [it got] a little bit [better] in Q1, then Q2 with the Medium [tyre] I struggled a bit again, I haven’t been driving very cleanly this weekend but I’ll try to sort everything out for tomorrow.”
Vettel and Leclerc will be the first drivers on the grid to have free choice of starting tyre compound but all of the top 10 made it through to Q2 on the Mediums that are likely to be favoured.
“P11 and P12 at the end is not that bad as we have free tyre choice,” he said.
“I don’t know how different we will be able to do compared to the others in terms of strategy but we at least have the freedom to think of something else.
“We are closer to top 10 compared to yesterday, that is a good step forward but yeah I can’t hide that I’m a bit disappointed in not being in this top 10.”