On French Q3, Ferrari sent Leclerc’s teammate Sainz to perform a drafting role which appeared to have helped the Monacan significantly, as he had cracked the 1.30 seconds lap-time and finished 0.3 seconds ahead of Verstappen, securing pole position in a high-traffic French GP track.
Nonetheless, followed by the qualifying, Leclerc, the 24-year-old Monacan who has been 38 points behind Verstappen in driver’s championship title, said that the drafting he had received from teammate Sainz did help, but was not crucial to seize the pole position.
In point of fact, drafting or slipstreaming is a commonly used method in racing where a car plays a supportive role to create an air vaccum behind while running in front of teammate’s car so that the car could gather speed much quicker without facing air pressure.
Sainz was found to be playing that role at least twice in French GP on Saturday. Irrespective of what Leclerc has been trying to prove, Leclerc was heavily benefitted from the tow of teammate Sainz, suggested analysts. Nonetheless, Sainz will start from the last row on Sunday, as he had received a penalty for a full power unit change, which had handed out an opportunity to play as a drafter for Leclerc.
Leclerc says Sainz’s drafting helps
Meanwhile, Leclerc expressed his gratitude to teammate Sainz, however, he also added it was not a crucial factor for him to end in front of Verstappen. Speaking with a press agency shortly after the French GP qualifying, Leclerc said, “I think the advantage of the tow was around 0.2s compared to Q2.
So it's significant and it would have been a lot more tight with Max without the tow. So it was a nice help anyway. It's quite tricky to get it exactly right. The first lap we were a bit too close in Turns 8 and 9, so I lost a bit there and just drove not in the best way possible.
On the second lap we adapted that and then it was better, and that was the lap. So we did a good job communication-wise, and also Carlos helping me was amazing”.