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Leclerc show in qualifying: Sainz still ahead | FormulaPassion – Formula 1

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Leclerc show in qualifying: Sainz still ahead |  FormulaPassion – Formula 1

Flash of class

What will start today at 18.00 Italian time will be a very difficult Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque of Ferrari will in fact have to start from 12th position on the starting grid due to the penalty suffered for the introduction by the team of third unit on his SF-23 after his reliability problems in Bahrain. Starting in the middle of the peloton isn’t exactly the best possible news on a track like the one in Gedda, known for its danger and for the many accidents that have occurred there over the past two years. Despite knowing of this sword of Damocles on his test, the #16 of the red car however gave a show in qualifying, managing to get the second time overallbehind only Sergio Perez’s unattainable Red Bull, who was ahead of him by just over a tenth.

Half a second gap in Jeddah

Leclerc’s flying lap ability has been known since the minor formulas (in 2017 in F2 he obtained nine pole positions out of 11 qualifyings, then reduced to eight due to a disqualification) and in F1 it has become even more evident, with 18 starts at the pole conquered during his still young career. However, in this very first part of the season, behind the wheel of a car that was certainly not perfect, the Monegasque’s talent on Saturday is emerging even more, especially when compared to teammate results. In the first two qualifying sessions of the season in Q3 Leclerc was on average three tenths faster than Carlos Sainz for the same machine. The Spaniard was beaten by 154 thousandths in Sakhir and by a good half a second yesterday in Jeddah. But what really impresses is above all the constancy of the 25-year-old from the Principality of Monaco.

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Sainz ‘voiced’ in direct clashes

Leclerc in the six ‘Q’ played so far in the 2023 World Championship (Q1, Q2 and Q3 of the first two GPs) he set a better time than Sainz on five occasions. The former McLaren driver only prevailed in Q1 in Bahrain by 101 thousandths. Then Leclerc has always been in front, reaching the maximum advantage precisely in yesterday’s decisive session. Since 2021, when the two have been team mates under the Prancing Horse banner, Leclerc beat Sainz in the direct match in qualifying 30-16. An eloquent margin that #16 is clearly confirming even in this first phase of the new year.


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