Charles Leclerc made little effort to hide his frustrations post-qualifying after making a mistake in Q3 that put him in the wall for the second day in a row.
The Monegasque has become well-known for his qualifying prowess, often able to extract everything within his car and produce some near-perfect performances.
However, Leclerc went one step too far in Miami qualifying – putting him in an underwhelming P7 grid slot and a disadvantage compared to most of his rivals for the race on Sunday.
His banker lap would have been in contention for a provisional front-row start, but a lock-up at the final corner on this attempt ruined a very promising lap time.
Qualifying has typically been the SF-23’s strength this season, so it remains to be seen how successfully the 25-year-old can climb the field during the Grand Prix.
Overtaking in F1 has been relatively difficult so far, which will make tomorrow’s race a useful case study in this regard.
Returning to Leclerc, he made clear that his qualifying error was not acceptable:
“This is not an excuse. It’s difficult for everyone. Two days, two mistakes, the same corner. Yeah, this is not acceptable,” he explained post-race.
“I’m always very harsh with myself, and today is just not good. I know I’m really good at qualifying. Most of the time, I manage to extract the absolute maximum out of the car.
“But again, it’s the same mistake as yesterday. I was over-pushing, had a shit turn 1 and tried to recover – but I lost it at turn 7.
“The lap before was really good until the lock-up, but again, doing good laps is good – but you need to finish them.
“Today, I didn’t finish them in Q3. So there’s no point saying it was a good lap until then.”
Carlos Sainz has proven far more comfortable in the SF-23 in Miami so far, which has validated some of the encouraging signs about Ferrari’s recent updates.
This is especially true of the team’s new floor, which marks the beginning of an extensive upgrade plan for the Scuderia.
In any case, whilst Red Bull is still the team to beat, Ferrari is still a threat for Pole Position – or at least the front row – in qualifying.
The real test for the SF-23 will be on Sunday, where tyre degradation and a jumbled-up starting grid present a variety of unknowns for Ferrari to contend with.
A sub-par qualifying for Mercedes (in combination with Lance Stroll’s Q1 elimination) presents the Maranello squad with a chance to score important points in the Constructors’ standings.