Charles Leclerc conceded that he is struggling with the front-end feel of Ferrari’s SF21 after dropping behind team-mate Carlos Sainz at the French Grand Prix.
Leclerc claimed back-to-back pole positions in Monaco and Azerbaijan but Ferrari was never in contention for the front-running places in France.
However, while Sainz was able to take fifth – having been third in final practice – Leclerc finished the session in seventh, behind AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
“I just couldn’t drive around the limitation we’ve had all weekend with the front [of the car],” Leclerc said after qualifying.
“I’m struggling a little bit with the front, but, to be honest, it’s more coming from me than from the car.
“It’s a limitation both Carlos and I are having but Carlos did a better job, driving around that issue.
“I just struggled in qualifying to drive around it, so it’s more something that is coming from me, so we’ll analyse it after qualifying, to understand what I could have done better with my driving, to help the car a little bit today.”
Leclerc described his laps before his last Q3 push effort as a “disaster” and was buoyed to “find a little bit more time” at the end of the session.
“We took quite a big step, a lot more aggressive than what we normally do, so I found a little bit of performance on that,” he added. “On my driving I was trying to change a few things, and it paid off.”
Ferrari has been locked in a battle for third place in the standings with McLaren and moved ahead for the first time in Azerbaijan.
In spite of his own struggles Leclerc was encouraged that Ferrari managed to out-qualify McLaren, with Lando Norris eighth and Daniel Ricciardo at the foot of the top 10.
“In the end it hasn’t been such a bad day for the team, because we’ve been fifth and seventh, and we are fighting McLaren,” he said.
“Today, with Carlos, we are in front of Lando and me in front of Daniel, so if tomorrow we manage to do a good race, it should be good for the team.”