He has nerves too.
Only in the penultimate attempt spun on the open track, got lost in the chicane.
But then under pressure, on the last groove, Charles Leclerc proved why he is considered one of the best drivers in Formula 1.
He managed not to make the same mistake a second time without being more careful.
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Full throttle in the Ferrari, at the limit here and there, he then won qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Carlos Sainz jr thanks to an impressive lap on Saturday afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya just outside Barcelona.
in the second car of the Scuderia.
The big race continues with the next chapter in the duel between the Monegasque and the champion from the Netherlands.
Verstappen regretted not having used his car's potential up to the last second.
That wasn't because of his driving skills, but because of the stubborn rear wing.
At least once he didn't let himself be flattened by Leclerc in the hunt for the best time.
"Otherwise we could have at least set Ferrari's specification," said Helmut Marko, head of sport at Red Bull: "But the first row on the grid is good.
It's going to be tight."
So who can win the sixth round of the season on Sunday (3 p.m./ in the FAZ live ticker for Formula 1 and on Sky)?
"It will depend on the tire management," said Leclerc, "and staying ahead at the start." That can be seen from the statistics.
On the track just outside Barcelona it's even more important to start first than in Monaco (next Saturday).
23 of the 31 pole winners to date have also finished first in the Barcelona race since 1991 (around 74 percent).
In Monaco, the rate is just under 45 percent (30 out of 67).
The constellation, including the long run-up of over 750 meters from a standing start to the first corner, speak for an exciting start, for a tricky moment seconds after the descent.
If in doubt, Verstappen could also wait, withdraw and avoid full contact.
Because Ferrari recently suffered from greater tire wear than Red Bull. "Let's see," said the world champion and smiled, "our car seems to be a little more careful with the tires."
Mercedes was also in a good mood after qualifying.
"We've made some progress," reported team boss Toto Wolff with satisfaction.
The so-called "bouncing", which causes the Silver Arrow to oscillate vertically beyond a speed of 250 km / h, seems to have been combated with some degree of success.
Georg Russell jumped up to fourth place and, buoyed by recent progress in setting up the most spectacular car in the field, let himself be carried away into a cheerfully cheeky announcement: "The season is just beginning for us." That was meant less as a threat than as a promise to be realized.
“Why shouldn't I be able to fight for a place on the podium.
I don't see any reason why it can't happen that way."Keywords: