demanded answers from his team after a strategic error resulted in him qualifying 15th for his home .

chose not to send Leclerc out for a second run at the end of the first session and he was knocked out – by his own team-mate .

Leclerc said: “I asked whether they were sure [I was safe]. They said we think we are.

“I said, ‘shouldn’t we go again? I need an explanation.”

Leclerc had originally qualified in 16th place but a three-place grid penalty for Antonio Giovinazzi, who was penalised for blocking in qualifying, promoted the home favourite to 15th.

Nevertheless, the result means Leclerc’s race is already effectively a write-off, as overtaking is close to impossible around .

“Hopefully [there will be] some rain,” he said. “If it is dry, it will be boring. I have to take a lot of risks, even risk to crash, but it’s all I can do to take some risks.

“I’m very disappointed today. Hopefully tomorrow [in the race on Sunday] will be better but I doubt so if it’s dry.”

were struggling in the first session and after the first runs Vettel was not quick enough to get through in the fastest 15 drivers without going for a second run.

But felt Leclerc would be all right, despite clear signals that he was at risk.


His fastest lap on his first run was 0.3secs slower than the of , gaps are small in and the track speeds up quickly through the weekend as more rubber gets laid down.

Despite that, they elected not to send him out, and had to watch helpless as Leclerc tumbled down the lists as others improved.

To add insult to injury, Vettel was the man who dealt the final blow.

The German four-time champion, who crashed at the start of final practice and missed much of the session, had only just crossed the line in time to start his final lap.

are yet to provide an explanation for the mix-up but the team will face serious questions.

In isolation, the error would be bad enough, but it is simply the latest in a series of questionable operational decisions made by in the past two seasons.