Ferrari suffered their latest tactical disaster of the season in Friday’s qualifying session amid indecision over which tyres to put their drivers on in ever-changing conditions at Interlagos. 

The Italian team managed to avoid the embarrassment of a potential double elimination in Q1 when both cars were heavily delayed in the pits during the switchover from intermediates to slicks. 

What's next for Formula 1's Cost Cap? | F1 2022

But Ferrari then made the bizarre decision to send Leclerc out on intermediates at the start of Q3 when the rest of the field were on slicks. 

The rain held off long enough for nine of the drivers to set times just before a red flag caused by George Russell suspended the session as Leclerc returned to the pits to change onto slicks. 

Rain fell during the suspension, preventing Leclerc from setting a lap time, leaving him 10th on the grid for Saturday’s sprint race. 

“We were expecting some rain, which never came,” Leclerc explained. 

“I will speak with the team and try and understand what we can do better in those conditions. 

“Extremely disappointed because the pace was there, but whatever.”

Leclerc added: “I accepted the decision to go on inters and then I just waited for the rain that never came.

“We still have the car but now we need to get on it and do everything good for the rest of the weekend."

How it played out over team radio 

Leclerc: “Am I the only cars on inters?”

Ferrari: “Yes, you are the only one on inters.”

Leclerc: “There’s absolutely no rain for now.”

Ferrari: “Raining at Turn 12, we believe.”

Ferrari: “Box now, box now, box!”

Leclerc: “Nice. Nice one!”

Leclerc: “Did everybody complete a lap on the slicks?”

Ferrari: “Yes they did”

Leclerc: “Nice, beautiful. F***ing beautiful.”

Ferrari explain their thinking 

Ferrari's sporting director Laurent Mekies said the team decided to split strategies for Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, and were gambling on rain with Leclerc. 

“It was a difficult qualifying session as it was very intense for all the teams," Mekies explained. "It’s the sort of qualifying where you need to make a lot of calls.

"Some of the ones made today worked, others worked less. Altogether it’s a bit frustrating because we got both cars into Q3 and then we were confronted with a tough choice. On one hand you’ve got a track that is dry and there’s a golden rule that says you should go for that track if it is dry.

"On the other hand we were expecting heavy rain imminently, therefore at the end of the day we split our cars. You always know at that very moment when your cars are going out that depending on the exact timing of the rain you’re going to have one happy man and one unhappy man. 

"That’s exactly what happened. The rain came probably a minute too late for Charles."