Having secured pole position with a stunning lap just 0.191seconds quicker than Lewis Hamilton, it was time for the post qualifying Drivers’ Press Conference and the topics discussed would receive open honest answers and one question in particular, posed by motorlat.com– laughter.
Charles Leclerc was first asked of his thoughts on his pole lap:
“I had quite a bit of pressure on the last lap so I gave it all. There were quite a bit of mistakes as I lost the car a few times and felt myself in the wall about 2 times or three times in the lap. Friday was a very difficult day for me and now to come here and qualify with pole position.”
Once again, Leclerc would summarise the fact that Formula 1 is indeed a team sport.
“Very surprised because we knew there was a bit more to come yesterday but we did not expect to challenge Mercedes or Red Bull. It proves how much of a good job they have done today and back at the factory.”
Lewis Hamilton was also surprised by Ferrari’s pace and also the fact that Leclerc has now claimed three pole positions in a row.
We obviously came into the weekend knowing we would have a fight with Red Bull. They did a great job and I was grateful that I was able to split them, only just, but we are definitely lacking pace today. The day’s not been that great. I felt my performance was potentially lost a little bit today…at one point we were a second away which was quite a leap to catch them up.
The Ferrari pair was then asked of the difference the upgrades have made.
Charles Leclerc would say that “From Hungary to now we understand also the car better. Also, show the results on track so I think it’s a combination of knowing where the balance needs to be and the improvements made on the car.” Sebastian Vettel agreed that they did not have such a great balance previously but are having a much better return from their car on the streets of Singapore, in particular sector 1 which is being dominated by Scuderia Ferrari.
With regard to the first sector, Lewis Hamilton is uncertain why his W10 is so far off the pace. ‘They’ve obviously done a great job but I don’t know where we are losing it…part of it is straight line…just overall clearly a major step for them but we’ve not an upgrade for a while.’
So, what of the proposed idea of a reverse grid which if implemented would have Charles Leclerc placed at the back of the grid? This question was posed to all three drivers by Motorlat.com as the conference drew to a close.
Charles Leclerc explained “I will not be happy. I am much happier to start first tomorrow; I don’t think it is the solution for Formula One.” This in turn was met with Lewis Hamilton stating “I don’t know what to say to the people that propose that as they don’t really know what they are talking out.” Whereas Sebastian Vettel took the course of action to speak the words everyone in the room were thinking with regard to the proposal of a reverse grid concept:
“I think it’s complete *&*##$*! to be honest. I think we know that we need to straighten the field more and have better racing…it’s just a plaster and I don’t know which genius came up with it.”
Lewis Hamilton in turn agreed with Vettel’s honesty sharing with the room that “He said it better than me.”
Thankfully, we do not have to worry about any artificial additions to the race concept and as such we have the prospect of the 15th Formula 1 night race on the streets of Singapore being a great duel under the lights…maybe even the greatest.