Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have shared sympathy with Charles Leclerc following his qualifying crash ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and remain confident he’ll recover from the setback.

The young Ferrari driver had dominated practice in Baku but midway through Q2 he locked-up his front wheels and slammed into the barrier at Turn 8 to wreck his qualifying chances.

Leclerc, who still progressed to Q3 thanks to his earlier lap time, will line-up from ninth place on the grid and was highly self-critical after the crash which left him ruing a missed opportunity.

Following his qualifying crash, Leclerc told his Ferrari crew over team radio “I am stupid, I am stupid” before returning to the pits.

In a tweet posted to his account soon after the incident, Leclerc wrote: “No excuses. I've been useless. I will push to have a better tomorrow.”

Both Hamilton and Vettel conceded they had suffered similar mistakes during their early F1 careers but expect the 21-year-old to learn from the experience and come back stronger.

“When it’s your mistake we’re tough on ourselves,” Hamilton explained in the qualifying press conference. “Maybe a little bit less when you’re older. But still it’s painful.

“It’s a lot of pressure around a track like this and on his young shoulders. It’s totally normal. Years and years ago I didn’t come out of my room for two or three days when I had some experiences like that. So I totally understand how he feels and that’s cool he’s open about it, because he can get it out and move forwards tomorrow.”

“It’s normal if you do a mistake, you’re not happy about it,” Vettel added. “Being critical is the reason why he is here, why we’re here.

“I don't think anybody enjoys that part of our racing life but every now and then it is part of it. The weekend isn’t over yet. We have a good car and I’m sure we can recover as a team.”

 

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