Formula 1 | Leclerc admits Ferrari have ‘lost’ their race-pace advantage

Leclerc admits Ferrari 'lost'

Charles Leclerc signed his second podium in the last 10 races yesterday at Zandvoort. But contrary to what one might think before the Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver never had the pace to worry Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, and thus aim for victory.

Could the Monegasque have gone for Max Verstappen if everything had smiled on him?

“Not really, we just didn’t have the rhythm. We weren’t… we weren’t fast enough. So that’s the main focus at the moment, to try to get back to the speed we had at the start of the season. We seem to have lost it, a bit in terms of race pace in particular. »

The Ferrari therefore seems to be falling back in race pace especially… to the point that Mercedes seems to pass in front of the Scuderia, on circuits with strong aerodynamic support (Zandvoort or the Hungaroring).

Charles Leclerc also sees it…

“Everyone is obviously improving, but in the last few races we’ve struggled a bit more with race pace. Now Mercedes is also in the fight and they are very fast. They were extremely fast on Sunday, especially on the hard tyres. »

“Our pace on the soft tires was really good at the start. We had used tyres, Max was on new tyres, so the difference was more or less what we expected. But then on the new medium tires we were slower than expected for sure. »

Did the Mercedes pace really take Charles Leclerc by surprise?

“Yes, without a doubt. On hard tires? Yes. »

Is the championship dead 109 points behind? Leclerc already admits to thinking about 2023.

“Mathematically no, but realistically yes. We have to focus on ourselves, keep our heads up, work on this car and on our team for next year. And what we can harvest along the way will be a bonus. »

Even worse in Monza?

On paper, Ferrari should suffer more at Monza, at least compared to Red Bull. The Milton Keynes car has a much more efficient top speed… and Charles Leclerc would almost already apologize for disappointing the tifosi.

“On paper, it’s not our best circuit, unfortunately. But anyway, I’m really looking forward to it. We still have massive fan support. And for that, I’m really looking forward to it. »

“But I think the performance on paper will be a bit more difficult than this weekend, unfortunately. »

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