SAO PAULO: Charles Leclerc blamed himself and apologised to Ferrari on Saturday after qualifying fourth on the grid for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Monegasque driver, who is set to take a 10-place penalty after taking a new engine, said he had made a mistake during his best lap, which had cost him three-tenths of a second, and wrecked his hopes of taking pole.
“I don’t think pole position was out of reach today,” said Leclerc. “But I am very disappointed with myself as I made a mistake which cost me three-tenths.
“I didn’t do the job in the car so ‘sorry to the team’, but with my grid penalty it was always going to be very tough.
“So, I will be in full-on attack mode tomorrow. I enjoy the first from the back and I will really try to ensure I do a good job for the team.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed his second career pole for Red Bull and will start ahead of Leclerc’s team-mate four-time champion Sebastian Vettel on the front row.
Vettel said: “I had a bit a wobble in the exit of the last corner of my first run, but I think Max improved his time so fair play. It’s his pole.
“I am happy with the front row and look forward to see what we can do tomorrow in the race.
“We got better and better through this qualifying, which was the target and we were improving so we will see how it plays out.
“Red Bull and Mercedes look stronger in managing the tyres, but we have the speed and the power. I am cautiously optimistic – and it should be a good race.”