Charles Leclerc vows to take early risks after Ferrari's Q3 mishap

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc says he will “take some risks” on the opening lap of Formula 1’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after a mix-up left him unable to set a second push effort in Q3.

Leclerc held fourth after the opening Q3 runs at the Yas Marina Circuit but was denied a second attempt after running out of time at the end of the session.

The youngster was following Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel on the out-lap; Vettel got across the line but Leclerc missed out.

“Sometimes it happens, I don’t know whether the situation was unlucky or if we could have done anything better but yeah, we will analyse it and try to understand to not have it happen again, because it’s a big shame,” said Leclerc, who will start third due to Valtteri Bottas’ grid penalty.

“I knew at the exit of Turn 3 I knew I had a tight margin but to be honest I didn’t want to overtake Sebastian and be in front of him.”

When asked whether he could still win the race, Leclerc replied: “Yes definitely. I will take quite a bit of risk at the start.

“I think I need to take some risk. I need to finish in front of Max [Verstappen] for the [third place in the] championship so at the end, we will see what happens.”

Vettel, who qualified fifth but will start from fourth, explained the situation at the end of Q3.

“Alex [Albon] was backing up because he had the McLaren ahead of him,” said Vettel.

“I don’t know who was in front of McLaren or whether the McLaren could be closer, but I don’t think that’s the point of the exercise either so it was just a pity.”