The Monegasque driver's 21st career pole comes after a season filled with frustration and false starts and he admits that the car provided by Ferrari, the SF-23, has not made it easy for him this season.
"I’m very happy because it’s been a year since I felt completely comfortable in the car, but we worked a lot, especially during the second part of the season," Leclerc admitted to Sky Sport Italia.
"We’re making progress, but we need to stay calm because it’s only Friday, and I think it will be harder for us during the race, so we’ll see."
For a driver with just three podium finishes this season, though, the improvement is massively encouraging and gives Leclerc a chance to overtake team-mate Carlos Sainz, who sits eight points ahead of him in the drivers' championship standings.
"I'm happy with the work we've done, we're always superbly prepared for the sprint weekends and it pays off," he added to Canal+.
"I'm really pleased with our work today, but after the race it's going to be more complicated. Red Bull are going to be very good and McLaren and Mercedes will be right behind us, so it's going to be an interesting race.
"We're going to do everything we can to try and keep this P1."
Vasseur: I'm happy we're ahead of McLaren and Mercedes
Fred Vasseur was delighted to see Leclerc, long considered one of the best single-lap specialists in the world, back at the front of the grid once again.
More importantly, the Ferrari boss was pleased to see his team exhibiting more pace that their key rivals behind Red Bull - but the Frenchman is long enough in the tooth not to get too carried away.
"It’s a good position for tomorrow, but we must stay calm as it’s just Friday," said Vasseur to Sky Sport Italia. "I’m happy for Charles, and it was important for him to have a nice start to the weekend. We’re fighting with McLaren and Mercedes, so I’m happy we’re ahead of them.
"We need to stay calm because the other cars are very close to us, and Max's lap got deleted. We were good, but we were also very lucky not making any mistakes."
Speaking to Canal+, Vasseur added: "There was a lot of action between Verstappen, Hamilton, Norris... it was close, but it's been close for weeks.
"In the end it was good for us. Charles did a great lap, Carlos too, so I'm happy, the two drivers are doing a good job.
"These results have come at the right time and that's important for us."
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