Charles Leclerc conceded he does not know where his electrifying pace came from as he stormed to a brilliant fourth place on the grid during qualifying for Formula 1’s Eifel Grand Prix.

Leclerc looked fast throughout final practice on Saturday morning and translated that form into qualifying at the Nurburgring as he secured a second-row starting position with a late effort to snatch P4.

The Monegasque said he was left “quite surprised” by the improvement from his upgraded Ferrari SF1000.

Asked where he felt the pace had come from, Leclerc told Sky: “I don’t really know.

“I’m quite surprised, epecially with this weather, I expected to struggle in the cold weather.

“From the beginning of the season, we are struggling to make [the tyres] work any time it is cold. Today, it seems it has worked out for us.

“I’m very happy, very happy with my last lap. I put everything together and P4 is great.”

Ferrari has brought further upgrades to Germany after introducing some successful minor new parts in Russia, and Leclerc was pleased to report they are working as expected.

“There were upgrades this weekend that worked in the proper way,” he explained.

“We are not trying to find an update that is giving a huge amount of lap time, just small differences every weekend which for now is working well.

“Every time we are bringing something on the car, it’s working, which was not the case in the past. This is very important and it helps us to build a solid base for the car.”

Leclerc could not explain his superior pace advantage over Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, who was only able to qualify 11th, seven-tenths further back.

“In the first sector I was quite competitive,” he said. “But Seb is a four-time world champion and I’m pretty sure that he will come back where he deserves to be.

“At the moment I am focusing on myself, I’m trying to push myself as much as possible when I’m inside the car and it’s working pretty well for me.”

And Leclerc is expecting a “very interesting” race on Sunday as drivers prepare to head into the “unknown” given the lost running on Friday.

“It’s going to be a very interesting race,” Leclerc said. “We all go a bit into the unknown.

“We haven’t done any high-fuel runs yet, so it’s going to be important to take care of those tyres and try anticipate as much as possible which axle will degrade first. This is where I will focus tomorrow.”

 

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