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Leclerc's Insight One-Stop Strategy Regardless of Grid Position

Leclerc’s Insight: One-Stop Strategy Regardless of Grid Position

08/04/2024

Charles Leclerc reveals a strategic insight, affirming that a higher starting position wouldn’t have altered his one-stop race approach.

Charles Leclerc is puzzled as to why he’s recently struggled to perform well in qualifying sessions. The Ferrari driver had secured seven front-row starts, yet he has found difficulty on Saturdays for the past two races, despite being pleased with his race performance.

“I don’t believe there was anything more to be done; the pace was really good, tire management was spot on, and communication was clear. Nonetheless, as a driver, one must always scrutinize the negatives over the weekend,” Leclerc observes.

“While in Australia and here race pace wasn’t an issue, it’s my qualifying pace that’s been lacking, which isn’t something I’ve had to focus much on in my career since usually, it’s quite solid on Saturdays.”

“However, for the last two consecutive races, I’ve struggled to get the tires into the right window, which is currently my main concern heading into Shanghai: to find and consistently hit the right window for the tires. Once I manage that, I’m confident my qualifying pace will return.”

A “really good feeling” with the mediums

Contrary to belief, Leclerc doesn’t think his poor starting position was the sole reason for opting for a one-stop strategy. This strategy helped him climb to fourth place at the finish, but he’s convinced Ferrari would have gone for it regardless of his grid position.

“Honestly, I believe the strategy would have been quite similar even if I had started from a different position because the feeling with the mediums was exceptionally good. I did a great job in the first stint, was very satisfied, and the strategy would likely have remained the same.

Leclerc revisits his qualifying laps, asserting he didn’t have a poor feeling. He confirms the issue was simply a lack of performance, despite being comfortable behind the wheel: “As I mentioned, my laps weren’t that bad.”

“The lap I did on Saturday was good, but the grip I had with the tire just wasn’t there. It’s because I did a poor job in the previous lap. It’s very frustrating because you finish the lap feeling happy, but you’re nowhere.”

“I need to focus on this aspect since the margins are small. However, I’m confident that by analyzing the data well, we have a week before Shanghai. And whenever I focus on something, I tend to improve quite quickly, so I’m not overly worried, but I need to make a step forward for Shanghai now.”

Red Bull is “too far ahead” but…

Leclerc believes that in addition to improvements in sheer performance, the consistency of the SF-24 gives the Scuderia drivers an edge, as it’s easier to dial into a good window: “I think we’re also much more consistent.”

“Last year, it was very easy for us to make a slight setup mistake and be completely off pace in the race, much more than we anticipated. The car is much stronger in the race, which is good.”

“At least we finish a weekend on a high note rather than starting it well and not being very happy on Sunday evening. It’s good this way, now I just need to get everything right on Saturday, and I’m sure we’ll have many more successful weekends.”

Leclerc finds it hard to believe Ferrari will challenge Red Bull soon but hopes to catch up to the Austrian team before the season ends: “For now, they’re too far ahead, but we’re doing a great job maximizing points since the start of the season.”

“When we get the upgrades, we might be able to challenge them, and that’s when we might put more pressure on them, hopefully taking more points away, and maybe we’ll be in for a pleasant surprise at the end of the year fighting them for the constructors’ championship.”

“But I think, for now, that’s a bit too optimistic. However, we’re not going to give up, we’ll keep focusing on ourselves, maximizing points as we’ve done at the start of the season.”

Leclerc's Insight One-Stop Strategy Regardless of Grid Position

Leclerc’s Insight: One-Stop Strategy Regardless of Grid Position. Leclerc’s Insight: One-Stop Strategy Regardless of Grid Position

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