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Leclerc Confident Despite Ferrari's Red Bull Chase

Leclerc Confident Despite Ferrari’s Red Bull Chase

21/03/2024

Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc shares insights on Ferrari’s progress and his outlook for the race, highlighting confidence amidst challenges.

Charles Leclerc is neither more nor less concerned than he was in Bahrain and Jeddah, ahead of this season’s third Grand Prix in Australia. The Ferrari driver believes the team is still behind Red Bull but remains confident about the medium-term work being done behind the scenes.

“The chances are as high or low as in the first two races; we come with the same confidence, hoping for what we had in the initial races. We believe we are close in qualifying and a bit further in the race; we’ll see what’s possible,” Leclerc stated.

“I have no doubt that we are moving in the right direction. I am fully convinced and believe we are doing good work, not only in the last two races but over the past six or seven months, in the way we operate.”

“We have a very clear idea of where we want to go and how we want to achieve it. That’s a good thing. Obviously, we’re not talking about a tenth in the race but three or four, so it’s a significant gap, but we’re doing everything we can to close it as quickly as possible.”

“It’s clear that we have made a step forward.”

Leclerc retired due to a personal error on the first lap in 2023, while he had won at Melbourne’s Albert Park in 2022. He hopes to shine again as he did two years ago.

“Two years ago, I had one of the best races of my career here, while last year’s was one of the worst. So far, our car is performing well, and the way the team approaches each session is very convincing.”

“As drivers, we feel a sense of confidence around us, and I think we have everything we need to do well, so I’m looking forward to hitting the track here at Albert Park, which is one of my favorite circuits.”

The Monegasque gave a clear analysis of the first two races and the progress of Scuderia: “I think it’s obvious that we have made a step forward compared to last year, following the progress made at the end of last season.”

“The fact that what we see from the car matches our expectations means we can be clear about the direction to go. We are still chasing Red Bull, but we are managing well.”

“The car is consistent and predictable, without any major weaknesses. Our work can thus focus on improving our pace, making the most of our package, and moving in the direction we have identified.”

Sainz’s Preparation Was Not Perfect

Carlos Sainz is back in the paddock, just a few days after undergoing an appendectomy, preventing him from participating in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after the first two practice sessions. He repeated during the second round of interviews of the day that he is confident about his recovery.

“Since I’ve been in Australia, I’ve made excellent progress, feeling better day by day and I’m ready to get in the car. I also talked to Alex Albon who went through a similar situation two years ago, and although I’m not at 100%, I expect to be able to drive properly.”

“The doctors who treated me were very good, and the operation was as minimally invasive as possible. After the surgery, I had to rest and thus lost some training time, but the lost hours were compensated with physiotherapy sessions. It also meant that I couldn’t drive in the simulator as planned to prepare for Albert Park. But it’s not a new track, and so I think I can do well.”

Sainz Feels Fit to Race but Must Confirm

It seems inconceivable that Sainz would be fit enough, yet he maintains that times have changed. Recall that Alex Albon raced in the 2022 Singapore GP, two weeks after a similar surgery, which, moreover, did not go well for the Thai.

“It’s possible thanks to the advances in medicine over the last 20, 30 years. When my father was operated on, and perhaps some of you have experienced it, 40 or 30 years ago, they would open you up here [indicating his stomach cut].”

“Nowadays, with laparoscopy, they make three very small holes, which speeds up the recovery. It’s twice as fast, or three times faster than before.”

“So thanks to that, that’s why, even the doctors, after the surgery, said that it was obviously going to be tight. There have been 14 days from the date of the operation until I get in the car tomorrow, but it’s possible.”

“They don’t know what F1 is now, the G-forces and all, but it’s feasibly okay, I feel like it will depend on how I feel. Will I be at 100%? Of course not, that’s not a lie. But will I be fit to race? The current feeling is yes. And I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”

Leclerc Confident Despite Ferrari’s Red Bull Chase. Leclerc Confident Despite Ferrari’s Red Bull Chase. f1 2024 Leclerc Confident Despite Ferrari’s Red Bull Chase

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