Charles Leclerc acknowledged Ferrari’s positive momentum in recent races, but urged that they need to secure P3 in the Constructors’ Championship before looking higher up.
Recent upgrades to their power unit have paid dividends for the Ferrari drivers, having taken strong results and looking to have moved ahead of McLaren in the on-track pecking order.
Leclerc took an excellent P4 in Austin last time out, but he acknowledged that the Scuderia still need to overhaul McLaren in their close battle in the Constructors’ standings – with only 3.5 points separating them heading into Mexico this weekend.
While Ferrari’s improvement has left him hoping to “do something special”, Leclerc still thinks it will be “impossible” to race with Red Bull and Mercedes at the front.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) November 4, 2021
“I like the optimism [of fighting with Mercedes or Red Bull] but I also think we should be realistic,” Leclerc told reporters in Mexico.
“I think, again on paper it looks like is going to be a promising weekend for us, but not at all fighting with Red Bull and Mercedes as they are way too far ahead.
“So, no, this is not the goal. The goal is to try and be in front of the McLaren and, we’ll keep this in mind then of course, if there’s an opportunity to do better, I’ll go for it as always, and we’ll try to do something special but on paper, this seems impossible for now.”
As for his battle within Ferrari, Leclerc and Carlos Sainz remain closely matched in the Drivers’ standings, with only 5.5 points between them in what has been an interesting sub-plot to the 2021 season.
While the Spaniard said their current relationship is “wonderful” and they’re working well together within the team, Leclerc is all too aware that both will be aiming for in-team supremacy come the end of the year.
“There’s definitely a battle with Carlos which is nice to see from since the beginning of the season we are we are pushing each other.
“I wish it was for a bit more exciting positions. So this year, we’ll try to focus on the team in third place, and then it’s always obviously the goal for any drivers to finish ahead of their team-mate.
“So I’ll be happier to finish in front of him rather than behind him this season for sure.”