Charles Leclerc returns on the front row for the first time since the French GP. The Ferrari driver took provisional pole with his first attempt, but when Max Verstappen improved his lap time by only 0.021s, he wasn't able to reply with another lap of his own due to the red flag brought out by Sergio Perez crashing out.
Nevertheless, Leclerc was pleased to see his car performing once again at a better level, as he said in the post qualifying interview:
"Very very close, Maxy did a great lap in the end. Our car was getting better and better throught qualifying, at the beginning I was pretty scared because Max was much, much quicker than us on used tyres."
The Monegasque still believes there's room for improvement during the race tomorrow: "But then in Q3 the car came through a bit better, and I managed to do that lap which was close enough for P2. Tomorrow is the race and we will give it our all."
"We are much stronger here compared to last weekend, that's good to see. And for tomorrow, the race pace looks quite strong, it's going to be quite close with Red Bull but we just need to do a great start and we will see."
During the post qualifying press conference, he added that tomorrow might see him and his teammate Carlos Sainz, who's starting from P3, work together to try and not let championship leader Max Verstappen run away with the win:
"Well, the easy way would be a great start, P1 in Turn 1 and then just leave Max behind, but if that doesn’t happen again, Carlos and I are in the front so let’s see what we can do there."
"I think you always try and work together whenever you are in those positions, we haven’t done the strategy meeting yet but let’s see."
Leclerc then explained that what ruined his pole attempt was a small mistake at Turn 10:
"It’s pretty obvious if you look at the onboard, I did a mistake at Turn 10 and I went very wide. I think I lost a bit more than a tenth compared to my previous lap, it happens, it’s like that when you push at the limit."
In spite of it, Leclerc was still content with his day, as it marked a return to the upper Top 5 in qualifying after a few races that had seen him struggling more with his car:
"It’s good to finally be back to where we were for the first part of the season, at least competitive. I think the pole position lap today was in the car, I just didn’t put everything together.
"But anyway, happy. It’s been now four, five races that I’m not really confident with the balance of the car in qualifying because in the race we always seem to find the right balance on my side, but in qualifying I struggle quite a bit," he concluded.