Charles Leclerc said that he still has “a lot to learn” after his poor performance on Saturday in Portimao, who only put him in P8, behind his teammate Carlos Sainz.
Despite qualifying in P4 both in Bahrain and in Imola, ahead of his teammate, Leclerc only managed to put his SF21 in eighth place in Portugal.
He was out-qualified by Sainz for the first time, and he only managed to finish the race in sixth, behind McLaren driver Lando Norris.
Laurent Mekies, Ferrari sporting director, admitted that the Monegasque driver seemed “less comfortable” in Portimao, where the weather and track conditions were extremely difficult for everyone. Therefore, he did not extract the full performance from the car, as his teammate did.
“He has this capacity to extract two-tenths that we didn’t know were there in our car,” Mekies said. “He does that regularly. It’s nearly normal business for him to do that.”
Despite Leclerc appreciated Mekies’ comment, he admitted that he still a lot of things to learn and improve when speaking of qualifying.
“I feel like yesterday shows also that I’ve got a lot to learn still,” Leclerc said after the race.
“Surely qualifying is one of my strengths. But yesterday, and overall, this weekend has been quite poor for me. So, very inconsistent. So there’s still a lot to work on my side.”
Many drivers were unhappy with the behavior of the tires and did not like the slippery track conditions of the track. Leclerc struggled as well, and he said that it was hard to improve his lap time between Q1 and Q3. His best lap time in the last part of qualifying was only 0.067s faster than his best lap in Q1.
“What I learned from this weekend is maybe I should have taken it to step by step, especially on such a difficult weekend like this,” Leclerc said.
“I’ve tried to push the car to its limit straight away, and it made my weekend very, very messy.
“If I look Friday and Saturday, they haven’t been very good days for me, and I was just all over the place, and once in 10 laps I managed to do a very good lap, but I was just not consistent.
“Maybe in those conditions, I should have taken it a bit more step by step, which I did today [in the race].”