BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Charles Leclerc said he was lucky to get away with his second big error in the space of six days during qualifying for the Hungarian GP, something he apologised to Ferrari for and labelled "completely unnecessary."
Leclerc spun out of a promising position at the German Grand Prix last weekend and appeared to have made another costly mistake at the start of Q1, losing the rear of the car at the final corner. The resulting bump into a wall damaged his rear wing, but Ferrari was able to fix his car in time for the second qualifying session.
Leclerc eventually out-qualified teammate Sebastian Vettel for fourth on the grid, but afterward his mind was on the mistake, something he has vowed to put right.
"I've been very lucky to go again," Leclerc said after qualifying. "I have to thank the team very much for what they've done but it was a completely unnecessary mistake at that point in [qualifying].
"That's two mistakes in two grand prix. The first one wasn't acceptable but this one is definitely not acceptable, and if I had stayed in the wall it would have been a lot worse.
"I need to learn from these mistakes. This is the second one in [qualifying] at an unnecessary time, so I need to understand and work on that.
"On the other hand, it was very positive in Q3 on my side. Of course, we are half a second down; that's not where we want to be, but I'm very happy with my lap overall."
Leclerc crashed out of qualifying at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where he had seemed to be favourite for pole position.
Asked if that and other incidents were weighing on his mind, he said, "It's a little bit different now. Obviously Baku was trying too hard. But this one I had Sebastian starting the lap in front; I knew I would lose a little bit of downforce, but I have just been surprised by this and it's completely my fault. I will work on it."
Leclerc has two pole positions to his name this year, but his maiden victory still eludes him. An engine failure cruelly robbed him of that in Bahrain, and he was passed by Max Verstappen on the final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix when poised to win.