Charles Leclerc says his crash during practice for the Miami Grand Prix was down to a lack of grip off-line and is confident it won’t impact his qualifying chances.
The Ferrari driver lost the rear of his car at Turn 8 late in FP2, catching a snap of oversteer but then locking up heavily as he went straight into the barrier on the outside of the corner. Leclerc’s incident brought out the red flag and he says the track surface still gaining grip meant he was unable to regain control but doesn’t expect any repercussions from the incident.
“Yeah, overall it’s very tricky because there is only one line and whenever you get off-line there is really, really, poor grip,” Leclerc said. “That’s basically what happened — I pushed too much, lost the rear, tried to recover from it but I had no grip to turn the car so that was it.
“But no big damage. Obviously the front right is gone, but apart from that no damage to the rear of the car which is the most important, but tomorrow is another day and I’m sure it will go well.”
Leclerc was on pole position for both the sprint and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last weekend but was comfortably beaten by Sergio Perez in both races, and he is expecting a similar scenario in Miami after ending Friday with the third fastest time.
“I think the feeling is quite good over one lap. For the race, we are so far behind; Red Bull is again in a league of its own, very, very far in front. So in the race we definitely have a lot of time to find but in qualifying pace we are more or less there.
“In terms of race pace, I don’t think we have any miracles in hand to close the gap so I don’t think we will be much closer.”
Leclerc was behind teammate Carlos Sainz in FP2 and the Spaniard enjoyed a more encouraging day, having struggled in Baku last time out.
“It has been an intensive Friday — a lot of laps on this new surface, with this new, modified circuit,” Sainz said. “A lot of learning to do, but we went through it pretty nicely, no problems. We made some progress today with the feeling of the car. We also tried a new floor and it looks like it’s working well, so, overall, a positive Friday.
“It looks like everything is back to normal from Baku, which is what I expected, and I’m happy with that. Now we’ll have to prepare qualifying and the race well.”