The Ferrari driver seemed to have the advantage with the pace he showed in the opening stages of the weekend and at the start of qualifying, but in the crucial laps of Q3 , the strategic decisions of the Monegasque himself and Max Verstappen decided the pole position towards the Dutch.
With the Imola track drying up more and more, it was clear that the fastest laps would come last, so after the first attempt, Leclerc opted to take a cool down lap, recharge the battery and prepare the tires for yet another effort instead. of a second consecutive time trial.
Verstappen made a tight second lap and was the one to claim pole position, while the current world leader’s hopes were dashed by red flags that appeared just as the session ended.
Speaking about the development of qualifying, Leclerc said: “It was about going around and waiting for Q3 to put everything in order.”
“That’s why it’s even more frustrating for me, because when it counts in Q3, I made the wrong choice, but that’s life, we’ll learn from it and in the end second place is not a disaster,” he said.
Given that Ferrari has been the one that has set the pace in this beginning of the 2022 season, the Monegasque did not doubt that they had the potential to go for pole position : “I’m not happy, I think we had the speed, we were very strong during the entire session.
“I did one lap [in Q3] that was good, and I decided to abort the second one to prepare the tires for the last two, because the warm-up is quite a lot,” he told F1. “I wanted to do the last two laps at the end of the session, but I couldn’t because of the red flags.”
“Max [Verstappen] has done an incredible job, well done by him. Second position is not bad, it’s disappointing because he wanted to be on pole, but that’s the way it is,” he continued.
Although overtaking at Imola is not easy, Leclerc saw no reason to think that he had no chance of going ahead with a sprint race and a Sunday on the horizon.
“I like to dream, but we have to focus on our work, not try to exaggerate things,” he reflected when asked about a possible victory. “I keep saying it, but I think it’s very important this weekend, we’re going to keep pushing, and we have the potential to win.”