What a difference a year makes! Charles Leclerc started last years Belgian Grand Prix from pole position and went on to win the race but now, twelve months later he will start from twelfth and will be lucky to sniff the top ten.
Ferrari’s dramatic loss of performance is being cruelly exposed this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, including their customer teams Alfa Romeo and Haas who never made it out of Q2 – both teams endruing engine issues in Belgium.
Leclerc, whose best effort in Q2 was nearly a second slower than Lewis Hamilton’s pole-winning time, was stumped for reasons when summing up his day to reporters at Spa, “It’s very difficult to find an explanation. It’s a big step back to the others.”
Post qualifying stats show that the non-Ferrari teams all found two seconds or more in their packages this Saturday compared to this time last year, even the Ferrari customers – doomed to Q1 – were still quicker than last year. But Ferrari lost almost half a second in 12-months.
“The race will be tough but I’m always optimistic. Hopefully, with a strong start, the right strategy, and good tyre management, we will be able to fight for some points.
“These are tough times for all of us, including everyone who is supporting us watching from home, and I will give my all to bring home the best possible result tomorrow for them.
“It’s important for everyone in our team to keep their heads up and stay motivated. Together we will work hard to find the cause of the issue we are having and address it.
“We need to find the issue and address it. It’s not a good day but it’s like this at the moment. We have got to work hard and we have to keep our heads up in tough times like this. We can understand the fans are disappointed.
“We can’t expect any miracles,” warned the Ferrari driver.