Lonely third was best Ferrari could do, says Leclerc – rezal404

Charles Leclerc F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – April 30, 2023 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc celebrates on the podium after finishing third in the race REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Ferrari is still too slow to win and third place behind the Red Bulls in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the best they could have hoped for, Charles Leclerc said after securing his team’s first podium appearance of the Formula One season.

Leclerc started from pole position, and had finished second in the Saturday sprint from the same grid slot, but was unable to stay ahead for more than three laps.

“That was the absolute maximum I could do today, or that we could do as a team,” said the Monegasque, who finished 21 seconds behind race winner Sergio Perez in what he said was his “loneliest ever” race.

“(The) strategy was really good, everything was really good but we just don’t have enough pace in the car today to fight with the Red Bulls.

“And also Aston Martin seems to have a stronger race car than we do. It was a good effort to stay in front of Fernando (Alonso) but at the end it’s like this. The reality is we have a lot of work to do to be back for the win.”

Leclerc had arrived in Baku with a meagre six points from the first three races, thanks to two retirements, but he left with a total tally of 28. Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz finished fifth.

Ferrari has upgrades in the pipeline, planned for their home race at Imola in May, but Leclerc said he was expecting small steps rather than miracles.

Team boss Fred Vasseur said the weekend had been a morale boost for the team.

“For the motivation it was important,” said the Frenchman. “You have to take the positive of the weekend. I think on one lap (qualifying) the pace was there and now we have to improve a bit on the long stint.”


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