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Ferrari explain intermediates call for Charles Leclerc

Ferrari have given an explanation for Charles Leclerc ending up on intermediate tyres at the start of Q3 in Brazil.

There was a queue at the end of the pitlane waiting for the green light to start Q3 on Friday afternoon at Interlagos, owing to the fact that rain was expected any minute.

Indeed, each driver wanted to get out on track and make the most of the better conditions at the start of the session before the rain came, and it was Kevin Magnussen who did the best job with him sealing a stellar first-ever pole for today’s Sprint.

Nine of the ten drivers went out on slicks for a quick burst around the Sao Paulo circuit before George Russell’s beached Mercedes caused a red flag and, after that was cleared, conditions had worsened to the extent that no more quick laps could be set.

For Charles Leclerc, though, Q3 was one to forget from start to finish as he took to the track as the only man on intermediates, in what quickly looked the wrong call from Ferrari.

Leclerc will start today’s Sprint from P10, then, and he wasn’t overly pleased with how things played out in the final stages of the session, with him questioning why he was the only driver on inters at the time.

Speaking post-session, Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies aimed to explain the decision, though, suggesting it was a split strategy between Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, owing to the fact they expected rain imminently after the start of Q3.

“It was a difficult qualifying as it was very, very intense for all teams, it was the sort of qualifying where you need to make a lot of calls,” Mekies said.

“Some of the ones we made worked, some of them worked less. It is frustrating as we got both cars into Q3, and then we were confronted with a choice.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 11: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 11, 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

“On one side, you have the track still being dry, and there is the golden rule that says you should go on the track when it is dry. On the other side, we were expecting heavy rain imminently, and we split our cars.

“Depending on the exact timing of the rain, you’re going to have one happy and one unhappy.

“The rain came probably a minute or two late for Charles, and it was the right timing for Carlos. It is what it is with Carlos P5 and Charles P10.”

Leclerc will be looking to use his frustration to good use this evening, with him aiming to make ground in the Sprint ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix.

You can keep up to date with all the latest F1 news, rumours and results right here at Give Me Sport.

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