Charles Leclerc admits he hoped for a better grid position for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after qualifying seventh. 

Leclerc qualified fourth at the most recent Eifel and Portuguese Grands Prix, but could only manage P7 at Imola.

The Ferrari driver was beaten by the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault and Red Bull of Alexander Albon in the battle to be ‘best of the rest’ behind the two Mercedes and Max Verstappen.

When reflecting on his qualifying, Leclerc was left to rue his final Q3 effort as the eventual gap to Gasly in fourth was less than a tenth.

“We probably expected something more but P7 is what we could do today, everything is close,” Leclerc said. “Looking at my lap I’m not very satisfied with my lap and the way I drove in Q3 but it’s life, looking at the gaps between me and Pierre it’s a bit disappointing but he did an amazing job and an amazing lap and I didn’t today so that’s it and hopefully tomorrow we’ll have a better day.”

Sebastian Vettel could only manage P14 and was beaten by the Williams of George Russell after his final effort in Q2 was invalidated due to exceeding track limits.

While Vettel was disappointed with the end result, the four-time world champion was feeling more comfortable in his Ferrari.

“It was a better qualifying session,” Vettel added. “I was happier with the feeling with the car, and I was a bit more comfortable, but it seems we are stuck in the position we are in at the moment and it didn’t make a difference in terms of where we are compared to the others.

“That was a bit of a surprise, but I tried – I tried at the end as well to squeeze everything, taking more risks I went a bit wide in the chicane so in the end, we lost one position for track limit, but I think it’s more important to try.”