Charles Leclerc says he is “not happy” with his qualifying result at the Formula 1 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Ferrari’s pace drop off in Q3.

Leclerc was third-fastest in Q1 and sat as high as sixth-place in Q2 as he secured another Q3 appearance in the final qualifying session of the year, but could not continue his promising pace in the top-10 shootout as he faded to ninth.

The Monegasque admitted he was both confused and disappointed by the result, with a three-place grid penalty looming for him on Sunday after causing an opening-lap collision with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen at the previous round in Bahrain.

"I am not so happy about today,” Leclerc said. “Even though Q1 was good and Q2 was very, very good on Medium tyres, in Q3 we lost the rhythm, especially in the last sector and it didn’t work out for us.

“Unfortunately, we have a three-place grid penalty to take tomorrow so it won’t make much difference that I am starting on Mediums, as I expect people around me at the start to go for Medium or Hard tyres.

“We were quite competitive in FP2 even though our long runs were affected by the red flag, so our pace shouldn’t be too bad tomorrow.

“It’s going to be a tricky race because here in Abu Dhabi it’s always very warm so tyre management will be a big thing, more than usual.

“I want to stay sixth in the drivers’ championship so for this last race of the season I’ll do all I can to make up as many places as possible.”

In his final qualifying for Ferrari, teammate Sebastian Vettel could only set the 13th-best time, though he is determined to end his six-year tenure at the Scuderia on a positive note.

"Obviously it is not nice to start my final race with the team from 13th on the grid,” Vettel said.

“The result itself is quite bad, even if I was happy with my own performance on the lap. Maybe putting together the perfect lap would have got me as high as tenth, but no better than that.

“My plan for the race tomorrow is simply to try and do my best. I guess we won’t have an easy race.

“I think it will be special since it is the last one. I want to enjoy this race and feel very close to the people in the garage, the mechanics, the engineers, everyone. It will be very emotional."

 

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