Charles Leclerc’s hopeful F1 prediction despite big pace deficit to mighty Red Bull

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, behind Sergio Perez, Red Bull, in Saudi Arabia.

Charles Leclerc behind Sergio Perez.

While Charles Leclerc imagines Red Bull has an advantage of up to four-tenths per lap over Ferrari, he is confident of his team’s trajectory and hopes to “very soon” put Red Bull under pressure.

After comfortable title doubles in 2022 and 2023, Red Bull has come up with another masterpiece in the RB20 which has started the season with a pair of one-two finishes, reigning three-time World Champion Max Verstappen winning ahead of Sergio Perez on both occasions.

Charles Leclerc hopes to soon turn up the heat on Red Bull

The final place on the podium meanwhile has gone to Ferrari in both rounds so far, Carlos Sainz claiming P3 in Bahrain, while Charles Leclerc secured that position in Saudi Arabia, though there is no doubt that Red Bull has come flying out of the blocks as the team to beat once more in F1 2024.

No team found an answer for consistently challenging Red Bull last season, but Leclerc is not ready to accept a similar scenario this time around, quite the opposite.

While Red Bull may be up to 0.4s quicker per lap, Leclerc says such performance can be found with improvement across all areas on the car, crowning Ferrari the most-improved team and stating that they know clearly where they must improve.

“I haven’t looked at the pace yet, but I imagine it was maybe three, four-tenths slower per lap, which is a lot in the world of motorsports,” Leclerc began in conversation with Sky F1 when asked how long it may be until Ferrari are putting Red Bull under pressure?

“However, when you’re going to look at every part of the car, you’re gaining one-hundredth per part, then you are straightaway gaining that.

“And I think in the last few months, we are the team that have improved the most because we have been working extremely well. And we just have to keep doing that and I’m sure that our moment will come.

“We are in a good momentum at the moment, it’s very clear for us what are the areas that we need to work on in order to get better, which is a positive sign for the season.

“Then when exactly, I don’t know what Red Bull has in their pocket in terms of upgrades and that will define when exactly we will be able to match them.”

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It was then pointed out to Leclerc that Red Bull reportedly has an upgrade for the RB20 coming at Imola, Round 7 of the season, though he stressed not every upgrade produces a “huge step” and hopes “very soon” Ferrari will be on Red Bull’s pace.

Asked if Ferrari can keep pace with Red Bull in the development race, Leclerc replied: “I don’t know. Not every upgrades are a huge step, so let’s see.

“We’ve got a few things coming as well. I don’t exactly know when, I mean I know, but I cannot say, so we’ll keep working, keep focusing on ourselves and I hope that it’s very soon that we’ll be able to put them under pressure.”

Leclerc, who also claimed the fastest lap bonus point in Saudi Arabia, has settled into P3 in the early Drivers’ Championship standings.

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