2019 Monaco GP: Leclerc’s disappointing Q1

Ferrari made a terrible blunder in Q1 and the Scuderia paid the price for it. But Charles Leclerc is also partially responsible as well for this poor result. Let’s take a look at the numbers in this short analysis.

Fastest 30 laps from Q1

As we saw in the previous article, Leclerc’s fastest Q1 time of  1:12.149 was slower by only 52 thousands of a second than Nico Hulkenberg’s 15th place Q1 time. But how fast (or slow) was Leclerc after considering not only the fastest lap for each driver, but every lap done in Q1?

Well, it turns out that Leclerc’s fastest time ranks only as the 25th fastest lap of the session. In the chart, the number above the driver’s name represents the ranking of that lap for that particular driver. For example, Lewis Hamilton’s fastest time (2nd fastest lap of the session) has a number 1, since that was his fastest lap in that session. However, Lewis has 2 other laps in this chart (#6 and #24), that are his 2nd and 3rd fastest laps of the session respectively.

Both Lewis and Valtteri Bottas were able to do a better lap time than Charles Leclerc with their 3rd fastest lap of the session. Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, as well as Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat and Kimi Raikkonen were also faster than Charles with their second fastest time of the session.

Fastest 30 laps from Q1 (filtered)

I decided to filter the laps to include only the second or third best laps of each driver from the top 30 laps, except for Charles’ fastest lap. In this case, we can see more clearly that the second best time of 7 drivers was faster than Charles’ fastest lap. Interestingly, both Hamilton and Bottas’ 3rd fastest time was around half a tenth faster than Charles’ fastest time.

Final remarks

Ferrari made a mistake believing that Leclerc was safe from elimination with his best time of 1:12.149. They were wrong, and therefore are responsible for the elimination of the Monegasque. However, Charles fastest time of Q1 just was not good enough.

It is unacceptable for a driver with the quality of Charles, driving a top 3 car, to be over a tenth slower than Kvyat’s second fastest time of the session. The fact that Sainz‘ second fastest time of the session was 172 thousands of a second fastest than Charles’ fastest time is pretty ridiculous.

Track evolution does play a big role, especially in a place like Monaco where the margins between drivers are reduced, however a car like the SF90, paired with a great driver like Leclerc, should have enough pace in the tank to easily take a McLaren or a Toro Rosso car in Q1.

I hope you enjoyed the article, have a great day everyone.


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