Charles Leclerc has played down the significance of Carlos Sainz’s decision to overtake him to gain track position at the end of Q1.
With time running down on the clock, several cars were queued up in the final sector ahead of their last laps of the segment.
Sainz, who had pulled over to let Leclerc by in the pit lane, moved back in front of the Monegasque driver.
Leclerc took issue with the move over team radio, sarcastically exclaiming: “Nice Carlos, nice. Good overtaking in the last corner.”
Clarifying the situation after the session, Leclerc asserts there is no lingering resentment over the altercation.
“In the pit lane, it’s something that we were expecting as we are always trying to get out at the same time as it’s better to manage the cars coming [behind],” he said.
“But on track obviously this is where we have a bit more of a discussion, we have one race I had the priority to choose whether I want to be in front or behind, and one race Carlos has the priority whether to be in front or behind.
“I had the choice here, and I decided to be in front, then at the end we were very tight on timing and it was very difficult for us to know whether we were going to get past or not before the flag.
“Carlos decided to overtake, which is not ideal, no big deal, with the adrenalin inside the car at that point you don’t know if you’re going to make it, yeah, the radio message was probably a bit more aggressive.”
Both Leclerc and Sainz advanced through to Q3 and ended the session in fourth and fifth respectively.
Having taken his second podium of the year last week in Austria, Leclerc is hoping for a repeat result – however he is expecting stiff competition from his rivals.
“I think in the last few races we’ve had quite a bit of surprises,” he said.
“Today it’s McLaren with the qualifying pace, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes is extremely strong tomorrow.
“They’ve had a very very good race pace yesterday so I’m sure they will be very strong tomorrow.”