Charles Leclerc has flipped the script on reigning champion Max Verstappen to snatch pole from the Dutchman at the death in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Verstappen had been in a commanding position throughout the weekend, including the early stages of qualifying, but Ferrari had a little extra in hand for Q3, with Carlos Sainz leading Leclerc to a provisional front-row lockout.

Leclerc found time with his second lap, but Sainz couldn’t squeeze any more from a fresh set of tires, gifting his teammate top spot.

Continue reading on RACER

Ferrari teammates Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz topped a twice-suspended second free practice session at the Dutch Grand Prix from which Lewis Hamilton withdrew early with engine problems.

Leclerc topped the time sheet with a lap of 1m10.902s, beating Sainz by 0.194s. Home favorite Max Verstappen was fifth, the Red Bull driver having lost his best time to one of the session’s two red flags.

Hamilton was the cause of the first, the championship leader having completed just three laps when his Mercedes’ power unit gave up the ghost. The Briton eased off the power through the first turn and cruised through to Turn 8, where he was instructed to park the car and switch off the motor.

Continue reading on RACER

Charles Leclerc has taken his ninth career pole for Ferrari in a dramatic end to qualifying at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc has taken back-to-back pole positions after red flags brought a chaotic qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to an early end.

Leclerc had taken provisional pole with his first flying lap — in no small part thanks to a substantial slipstream from Lewis Hamilton — to set up what should have been a tight conclusion with the second runs. But the shootout was halted with just a second remaining on the clock when Yuki Tsunoda smacked his AlphaTauri into the barrier at Turn 3, partially blocking the track. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, immediately behind him on the track, tried to take avoiding action but locked up, spinning himself into the wall in the run-off zone.

Red flags were waved for the fourth time of the afternoon and the session was abandoned, handing Leclerc a second consecutive pole.

Continue reading on RACER

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz elevated Ferrari to an unlikely session-topping performance in Friday afternoon practice at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Monaco native Leclerc was among the last to set his fastest time, his best effort coming with 20 minutes remaining, to set a fastest time of 1m11.684s. It was a strong rebound result for the 23-year-old, who retired from first practice with a gearbox problem after only four laps.

Teammate Sainz consolidated on his second place from the morning to finish second again the afternoon, the Spaniard looking thoroughly comfortable around the city streets. After running a long 14-lap stint on the hard tire in the morning — he was the only driver to try that compound in the afternoon — he set a time 0.112s shy of his teammate.

Continue reading on RACER

Lewis Hamilton won his fifth race of the season to extend his championship lead to nearly two clear race victories at the Belgian Grand Prix, but the biggest story of this staid Sunday came at the back of the field and well out of the points.

Ferrari, motorsport’s most famous and best-funded team, lumbered home to its worst result in a decade in a hellish weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc crawled to 13th and 14th, beaten by Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and only five seconds ahead of Williams rookie Nicholas Latifi in its lowest meritorious double finish since 2010.

Never has the Formula One paddock been more intensely pressurised than in this most unusual 2020 season.

We’re two rounds into an unprecedented run of 10 races in 13 weeks, and with the full schedule of events still undetermined, every grand prix threatens to make or break a championship.

The pressure has never been higher. Fortunately Lewis Hamilton thrives on it.

Charles Leclerc celebrates scoring pole position at the 2019 Russian Grand Prix
It looks like Ferrari's finally back in the mix with a fourth successive pole, but Mercedes is poised to strike back in the race.
Charles Leclerc on track at the 2019 Russian Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc has become the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher to take four poles in a row.
Charles Leclerc on track at the Singapore Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc and Ferrari defied expectations by taking a third pole in succession at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc beat Lewis Hamilton to a surprise pole position for Ferrari at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Continue reading on RACER
The Italian Grand Prix Strategy Report podcast features Formula Passion journalist Luca Manacorda.
Who was more cooked at the Italian Grand Prix: the F1 TV director or Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari career? Plus is Nico Rosberg really the new Jacques Villeneuve? And if so, what happens to the old Jacques Villeneuve? And what about John Newhouse?
Charles Leclerc celebrates at the Italian Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc has scored a memorable victory in front of Ferrari's home crowd at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Belgian Grand Prix Strategy Report podcast features BBC 5 Live commentator Jack Nicholls.
Charles Leclerc on track at the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc has dedicated his first Formula One victory to late racing rival Anthoine Hubert after beating championship leader Lewis Hamilton to the chequered flag by less than a second at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel congratulates Charles Leclerc on his third career F1 pole.
Ferrari dominated qualifying, but Friday race pace suggested the grand prix will be anything but easy for polesitter Charles Leclerc.
Charles Leclerc on track at the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc leads a Ferrari front-row lockout ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel at the Belgian Grand Prix.