DAMS’ Arthur Leclerc has isolated qualifying as the primary weakness of his rookie season in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, in which he is currently 13th on 36 points.
Ferrari junior Leclerc has scored in all but one of the Feature Races this year, but he has only qualified in the top 10 twice, taking eighth in Bahrain and seventh in Australia.
He converted the latter starting position to third in the Feature Race, but three 13th-place Qualifying results and 10th out of 11 in his group at his home race at Monaco have otherwise limited his opportunities to score significant points in both the Feature Races and the shorter Sprint Races.
Leclerc’s DAMS teammate Ayumu Iwasa, meanwhile, has only qualified outside the top 10 once. The Red Bull junior sits third in the standings on 82 points having taken Sprint Race wins in Jeddah and Monaco and the Feature Race win in Melbourne from pole.
In a media roundtable ahead of Round 8 at Spielberg, Leclerc told InsideF2 that he needed to improve qualifying in order to contend for wins himself.
“[I] need to do the job in qualifying because it will put me in an easier position for the races. We saw since the beginning of the year we are really, really strong in the race, but if you don’t do great in qualifying, you can’t have the pace you want in the race. You will not do amazing results,” he said.
“In Melbourne, we were starting P7 [and] we finished P3, so just qualifying in the top five, I think, will be the target for now.”
Formula 2’s next three rounds take place at the Red Bull Ring, Silverstone and the Hungaroring – the three circuits where Leclerc took his best qualifying results of fourth, second and fourth respectively in FIA F3 last season.