The Ferrari driver dominated qualifying at F1’s newest race in Sin City to claim his fifth pole position of the 2023 season ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz, who has a 10-place grid penalty and will drop to 12th. 

Leclerc, who will be joined on the front row of the grid by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, now has 24 career poles. 

Remarkably, the Monegasque has failed to convert his last 11 poles into a grand prix victory - a run that stretches back to the 2022 Australian Grand Prix.

Leclerc is hopeful he can finally change that statistic by following up his latest pole with a win in Saturday evening’s race on the famous Las Vegas Strip. 

“The confidence is high because we are starting first,” said Leclerc, who has been stuck on five grand prix wins since last year’s Austrian Grand Prix. “So it’s the best position to start from.” 

However, Leclerc remains wary of the threat from Verstappen, whose dominant RB19 has tended to overpower its rivals on race day. 

“On the other hand, we know that Red Bull is going to be very strong, and Max obviously is going to be very strong in race pace,” Leclerc added. 

“But I feel like we've had positive signs this weekend on the high fuel, more than other races. So I hope we can convert that pole position into a win.” 

Verstappen has claimed an incredible 17 wins from 20 races this year, with Ferrari managing the only non-Red Bull victory thanks to Sainz’s triumph in Singapore. 

Asked about his strategy for the race, the triple world champion replied: “Honestly, I don’t even think about it too much. 

“You just ease yourself into the race, and when you see opportunities, you go for it, and if they are not there, then you maximise what you have. And that’s what we’ll try to do.

“I think the long runs looked good, so hopefully that will be the same in the race.” 

Leclerc said he was “not happy” with his qualifying performance despite claiming pole, admitting he didn’t get the best out of his car. 

“I’m not happy with Q3,” he explained. “But at the same time, you can only be happy when you are on pole.

“In Q2 it was probably the best laps I’ve done in a while. Both of them were really, really good. Then in Q3, I didn’t put things together and I was always losing a tenth here and there. 

“At the end I managed to do more or less the same time as as Q2 but I think there was quite a bit of track improvement so I should have gone faster.”