Leclerc reveals issue that prevented pole challenge in Mexico City as Ferrari drivers took P5 and P7

For the first time this season, neither Ferrari driver managed to qualify in the top three as Carlos Sainz finished fifth and Charles Leclerc seventh on Saturday in Mexico City.

Leclerc finished third in Q1, but dropped to eighth in Q2 and seventh overall. After qualifying, the Monegasque driver was concerned about the handling of his car and explained in detail why he couldn’t compete for pole at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

READ MORE: ‘It was our pole to have,’ says Russell as he and Hamilton make Q3 mistakes in Mexico City

“It was a difficult session, but I’m sure there is a problem,” Leclerc began. “We have to investigate. It was mainly motor; we lost a lot of time on the straight and there were a lot of handling issues. The throttle wasn’t really… I mean the engine wasn’t responding to the throttle input I gave.

“Especially in the high speed it was extremely difficult. I really hope we can fix that before tomorrow. If yes then I am very confident that we can get a good result, if not I am not sure how it will go.

“I think this is really a one-off. For me it was really strange. We need to investigate and I hope we can find something tomorrow.”

FACTS AND STATS: Verstappen starts P1, but no pole sitter has finished on the podium here since 2016

Sainz, who was best in FP1 on Friday, was second in Q2 by 0.008 seconds behind session leader Lewis Hamilton, but fell back to fifth in Q3. The Spaniard could not explain why he was unable to set a lap for pole on Saturday.

“It was a fight. A clear fight there, I think you can see it from the outside. I don’t know if we didn’t get the set up right, or if we’re just wrong with tires or if the altitude affects us a bit too much here, but obviously the car hasn’t been that good over one lap . just as competitive as in other Grands Prix,” said Sainz.

READ MORE: Verstappen fends off Mercedes pair for first pole in Mexico City

He added: “For me it was more the unpredictability of our car than anything else.

“And now we clearly need to focus on putting together a good race, knowing that we may not be the fastest this weekend. When the car is so difficult, it is always difficult to get a good lap in qualifying.”

Ferrari is 53 points ahead of Mercedes – with George Russell second and Lewis Hamilton third on Sunday – in the battle for third place in the Constructors’ Championship.

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