Leclerc Confident Ferrari Can Challenge Red Bull

Leclerc Confident Ferrari Can Challenge Red Bull


At the Chinese Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari will close the gap to Red Bull, favored by the track dynamics of Shanghai, enhancing the SF-24’s competitiveness.

Charles Leclerc expects Ferrari to narrow the performance gap with Red Bull at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Red Bull achieved its third one-two finish of the season last time out at Suzuka with Max Verstappen winning by more than 12 seconds. Carlos Sainz was the closest non-Red Bull driver, finishing just under 20 seconds behind the leader, a margin half as large as last year at the same circuit.

Ferrari is likely to fare better in Shanghai since it features a front-limited circuit – meaning the front tires are under load longer in corners and thus wear out more than the rears – and the combination of turns does not favor the RB20 as much as Suzuka.

Speaking at this morning’s press conference in Shanghai, Leclerc explained why he is confident of being closer to Red Bull on race day.

“I think we will be closer in the race, yes. But let’s wait and see because it’s been a long time since we raced here.”

“I’ve only raced here twice, but it has always been a very nice track, a good track to drive – lots of different lines through the first three corners, which makes for an exciting challenge.”

“I haven’t done my track walk yet, but we’ve seen that the track has been treated or there’s something odd about it, so we’ll have to see how our car behaves with that and what the main limits are during the race. On paper, we should be closer to them, yes.”

“My confidence level has been quite steady since the start of the season. On paper, I think this is a track where we might be a bit stronger than Suzuka, but we’ll approach it in the same way.”

“I still think Red Bull will have the upper hand this weekend. We just have to focus on ourselves because it can be very easy to make a mistake, as we saw particularly during qualifying at Suzuka. I didn’t do a good job on Saturday – you don’t go from fourth to fifth place, you go from fourth to eighth with the smallest mistake.”

“It’s going to be very important for me to qualify well—a sprint weekend with two qualifications to get the most out of the car. In the race, I think we’re quite strong this year, no problem with that.”

Leclerc acknowledged it: he must step up his game in qualifying. What is he lacking compared to Carlos Sainz in the SF-24?

“I think it’s as simple as the fact that Carlos has done a better job. Again, I think in Bahrain, it’s hard to compare because I was facing issues on my side, and I think it was a very good weekend apart from that, from my side. However, in the last two races, he just got the upper hand.”

“It’s up to me now to work, especially on the pace in qualifying, which is normally a strength for me. But I’ve struggled to put together a good fast lap. It’s a very fine line between success and failure, especially in getting the tires into the right window.”

In this particular area, the 26-year-old Monegasque driver believes there’s work to be done.

“So far, I’ve had more difficulty with this than Carlos. He’s driving at a very high level, which, I think, is great for the team. It’s great for me too, and I’ve been working a lot on this, and normally, when I work on weak points, I’m quite confident of making quick progress.”

“So I’m not worried, but obviously, I have to show it on the track, starting tomorrow in qualifying.”

Leclerc Confident Ferrari Can Challenge Red Bull

Leclerc Confident Ferrari Can Challenge Red Bull. Leclerc Confident Ferrari Can Challenge Red Bull

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