Charles Leclerc speaks of different Red Bull v Ferrari reality after Bahrain problems

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc locks up in Bahrain.

Brake issues prevented Charles Leclerc from challenging more in Bahrain.

Charles Leclerc is “sure” Ferrari are closer than they looked to Red Bull’s pace in Bahrain, at least on his side of the garage, after an issue-riddled Grand Prix on Saturday.

Leclerc was fighting a right-front brake problem that cost him significant amounts of lap time during the race, with his car jutting to the right under braking and proving tough to control.

Charles Leclerc ‘sure’ of different Ferrari pace having had to ‘sacrifice’ Bahrain pace

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Leclerc was overtaken twice on-track by team-mate Carlos Sainz in the race, but still kept hold of a fourth place finish for Ferrari on the day.

What will have been of most concern to him, however, will have been the gap to Max Verstappen and Red Bull in front, with the three-time World Champion having won the race by over 20 seconds in the first round of the season.

Leclerc had lined up alongside Verstappen on the front row, but given the issue which befell him in the race, he is certain the deficit he had would not have been the same without it.

“I’m sure it’s different. I mean, at least on my side,” Leclerc told media including in Bahrain when asked about Ferrari’s potential gap to Red Bull.

“Again, it wasn’t a small issue. It felt really bad, so I had to change a lot the way I was driving, and I had to sacrifice a lot of braking points.

“So all in all, I think there was quite a bit of performance in it, but how much is difficult to say.”

On his own speed, Leclerc actually set the second quickest lap of the race in his Ferrari as he held onto fourth place come the chequered flag, despite his problem.

While his team-mate was able to make it onto the podium, Leclerc said focus will switch to Saudi Arabia to confirm Ferrari’s suspicions about just how much of a difference there is between the Scuderia and Red Bull. recommends

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“I’m quite surprised when I was hearing the pace at the end of the race because we were doing relatively good lap times with a car that was feeling completely out of place,” he explained.

“Because I had to change completely the brake balance, the engine braking, to try and counter that front right brake that wasn’t working properly.

“So all in all, the pace was better than what I expected with an issue like this. However, to know exactly the real pace is difficult.

“I was quite optimistic for this race this morning, as I had hoped that my car was probably better placed for the race pace, but unfortunately we couldn’t see that or confirm that today.

“We’ll have to wait for Jeddah to see whether the gap between Max and ourself is the same or bigger than what we expected.”

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