Ferrari’s new recruit for the 2019 season Charles Leclerc was “not happy” with fifth in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix after a “messy lap” in Q3.
Leclerc, who topped the timesheet in Q2, failed to improve on his second and final lap in the top 10 shootout segment of qualifying and was demoted from a provisional fourth place on the grid to fifth by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel was 0.252 seconds faster than Leclerc and sealed third place on the grid, albeit over half a second behind the Mercedes pair.
The 21-year-old believed that he could have beaten Vettel to third had he delivered on his second and final Q3 run.
“I’m not happy with myself,” Leclerc said when speaking to Sky Sports F1.
“I didn’t do the job in Q3 which is a shame but I think Q1 and Q2 was positive on my side – on the driving side.
“In Q3, the first run was pretty ok but in the second run I did a mistake by locking up in Turn 1 and then it was just a very messy lap from my side so it’s a shame.
“I think top three was definitely there – top two was not. But we will work to get better.”
Driving for Sauber in what was his rookie year in Formula 1, Leclerc dropped out of Australian Grand Prix qualifying at the Q1 stage last year and was outqualified by team-mate Marcus Ericsson.
Asked about the challenges of Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit, he added; “It’s very difficult because [on] all the [corner] exits there is astro turf and it’s always very, very slippery.
“I was struggling quite a lot last year on this track so I’m pretty sure things will get better but I also need to work on my side to put things together when I have too.”