Charles Leclerc managed to bring his SF1000 into Q3 for the last qualifying session of the year. Leclerc clocked his fastest lap time in Q2 wearing mediums, but on soft he lost pace and stopped in 9th position.
Anyway, Leclerc will start from the 12th place on the grid because of the 3 places grid penalty he received adfter the first lap incident in Sakhir. The Monegasque will share the sixth row with Daniel Ricciardo, while his team mate Sebastian Vettel, who is set to leave the team after Abu Dhabi's race, will start from 13th.
All the efforts in Q2 to qualify with the medium compound, then, seems quite useless, but Leclerc hopes to reach the top ten and keep his place in the drivers championship, where he currently sits in 6th place.
“I am not so happy about today - the monegasque admitted - even though Q1 was good and Q2 was very, very good on Medium tyres, in Q3 we lost the rhythm, especially in the last sector and it didn’t work out for us. Unfortunately, we have a three-place grid penalty to take tomorrow so it won’t make much difference that I am starting on Mediums, as I expect people around me at the start to go for Medium or Hard tyres.
"We were quite competitive in FP2 even though our long runs were affected by the red flag, so our pace shouldn’t be too bad tomorrow.
It’s going to be a tricky race because here in Abu Dhabi it’s always very warm so tyre management will be a big thing, more than usual. I want to stay sixth in the drivers’ championship so for this last race of the season I’ll do all I can to make up as many places as possible”.