Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has revealed he watched onboard shots of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly to gain knowledge of the fastest lines around the outer layout in Bahrain before qualifying.
The Monegasque driver ended Q3 in fourth place, delivering a stand-out performance in a session that Ferrari was expected to struggle in due to the track’s high-speed layout.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Leclerc says he noticed Gasly, who ended FP3 in third place, was using a lot of kerb at Turn 7 which he then adopted for qualifying.
“I was scared because I broke very, very late into the first corner but managed to make the corner anyway, and had a good exit too,” Leclerc said of his fastest lap in Q3.
“I think I got a snap in Turn 4 and then I thought ‘oh my God, I don’t know if the tyres will last to the end of the lap’.
“I did such a huge step from FP3 to quali in terms of driving, using a lot more [of] the track in the entry on the kerb on the right [to Turn 7], looking at Pierre Gasly’s onboard actually after FP3, so thanks Pierre.
“The last corner, which I have been struggling in the whole quali, I finally managed to do it well also in my last lap.”
Leclerc was not out on the track at the end of Q3, setting his laps earlier in the session as he believed that traffic would be an issue in the final minutes.
“I took the decision to go early in the session instead of waiting to the end of the session for two reasons,” Leclerc said.
“Firstly, I was expecting the traffic to be a mess at the end of the session and second, I just had the ideas clear.
“I just wanted to get out on the track and do the job, which we did. To be honest, I don’t think I could have done anything better going later in the session so I am extremely happy.”