Charles Leclerc was left beating himself up after a crash in Q2 for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that he believes cost him pole position for the race. Leclerc had been the quickest man on-track all weekend until he smashed his Ferrari into the barriers at the castle section of the Baku circuit.
Bizarrely, Leclerc’s crash was remarkably similar to a crash suffered by Robert Kubica at the same section of track in Q1 – with Saturday’s qualifying lasting almost two hours due to the delays.
Mercedes capitalised on Leclerc’s error, with Valtteri Bottas taking pole and Lewis Hamilton joining him on the front row, despite Silver Arrows boss saying before quali that Ferrari were “untouchable”.
The Monegasque was incredibly harsh on himself in the immediate aftermath, with a ninth-place start awaiting him if his car has not sustained too costly damage.
“I deserve what happened today,” Leclerc told Sky Sports. “I am very, very sad for what happened, but I deserved it.
“I have been very stupid, as I said on the radio. I’ve calmed down but I still think I’ve been stupid, this does not change.
“Now we will push to learn from this and come back stronger and hopefully we’ll have a very good race tomorrow.
No excuses. I’ve been useless. I will push to have a better tomorrow.
Sorry to all the people supporting us and even more to the whole team that deserved so much better.
?: @motorsportpics1 pic.twitter.com/F8rDEr2L0A
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) April 27, 2019
“But yeah, I deserve this. I don’t want to say anything stupid, but after looking at FP1, FP2, FP3 and Quali 1, pole was possible today and I threw all that potential in the bin, so I’m very disappointed.”
Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, who went on to qualify third, took medium tyres for the start of Q2, despite track temperatures already falling in the aftermath of Kubica’s crash. Leclerc admitted that failing to get up to speed on the harder compound contributed to the crash.
“I just braked as much as I did on the soft, but obviously I was on the medium and I just locked up,” he said.
“I don’t want it to be misunderstood, there is no problem with the tyres, it’s just myself. So I’m very disappointed.
“You can definitely overtake and I will push for that tomorrow. But for the next three or four hours I will be beating myself up.”