Charles Leclerc was left to bemoan a small error in Q2 for having “big consequences” on his qualifying result for Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver suffered damage to his car when he ran wide over the kerbs coming out of the fast right-hander of Turn 9 in the closing stages of the second segment of qualifying in Barcelona, with his SF90 shedding bits of bodywork in the process.

Leclerc immediately returned to the Ferrari garage so the team could carry out repair work to the bargeboard and floor area, but when the Monegasque eventually re-emerged towards the end of Q3, he was only able to put in a laptime good enough for fifth on the grid behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

“I’m not very happy but on the other hand in Q2 I don’t really understand how I could lose that much of the car on the kerb,” Leclerc, who ended up three tenths down on his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, said.

“I didn’t expect it. I got a little bit of understeer but I kept it flat thinking it will be all fine. Unfortunately we broke quite a lot and then I had to stop again and I had some issues in Q3 and it is still unclear to me, as the balance was very strange.

“I took a little bit more curb but definitely did not expect to lose quite a lot of parts from the car. I took it a bit quicker, the car was probably a bit lower and we clipped one bargeboard. I think the second one was damaged too.

“It was a shame but I don’t think it’s a big error from my side, it’s just unfortunate this time but it had big consequences. This is not great.”

And Leclerc is anticipating Ferrari’s difficult weekend to continue on race day with Red Bull and Mercedes both looking in good shape having demonstrated strong race pace on Friday.

“It’s going to be a difficult race,” Leclerc admitted.

“Red Bull is generally quick on the race runs, they know how to manage the tyres very well, so it’s not going to be an easy race tomorrow.

“Today was not an easy day either, Mercedes looks extremely strong and we seem to struggle quite a bit at the moment so we need to improve from there.”

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