Charles Leclerc won’t rush to judgement after last year’s Bahrain pace dissipated

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc drives the Ferrari SF-24.

Charles Leclerc took the Ferrari SF-24 around Fiorano for the first time shortly after its launch.

Fighting for the podium in Bahrain last season before his DNF, Charles Leclerc says this year he’s going to wait a few races before drawing any conclusions about Ferrari’s chances.

After all, after Bahrain last year he had to wait until round four to secure his first of only six top-three results.

Having put in a solid pre-season last year when Ferrari ended testing as Red Bull’s biggest rival, the Scuderia lined up on the Sakhir grid with Leclerc and Carlos Sainz having been third and fourth fastest in qualifying.

‘We will always have to wait two or three races to see our car in different conditions’

Alas, not only could they not challenge Red Bull for the win, an engine issue punted Leclerc into retirement while Sainz was overhauled by the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso.

Strangely that proved to be one of Ferrari’s better performances in the early part of the season as Ferrari found themselves to be only the fourth fastest at times, at best.

As such this season Leclerc won’t be drawing any early conclusions as he feels a few races are needed before the teams have a true indication of the pecking order.

“Looking back at the previous years, you always need to wait two or three races to feel how strong of a package you have on different tracks,” said the five-time Grand Prix winner.

“Sometimes you can have a very strong package on one track and you get to another track and you are struggling much more.

“We will always have to wait two or three races to see our car in different conditions, different wind, different temperature, different track layout, before actually drawing conclusions of what can be achieved that season.

“But of course we will have a good picture of where we are at after the first race.” recommends

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He is, however, hoping that this year’s SF-24 is a car capable of taking on Red Bull for the World titles.

Asked if just being on the podium is enough, he replied: “No, it’s not enough.

“I mean, I want to win as many races as possible, then we’ll do the counter at the end of the year, and to also understand where we will be after the first race to understand how competitive we are.

“But yeah, it’s very difficult now to also draw a picture of where we will stand after the first race, it will depend on that as well.

“But two or three victories is not my target, I want to win as many races as possible.”

This year’s championship will be the third and final year of Leclerc’s partnership with Carlos Sainz after Ferrari announced they’d signed Lewis Hamilton as his 2025 team-mate.

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