Leclerc surprised ‘yes and no’ by Ferrari’s form

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc improved after 2020 forced him to focus on consistency.

Charles Leclerc says he is, and he isn’t, surprised by Ferrari’s upturn in form with the Scuderia in the points in Bahrain and Imola.

After last year’s disappointment, a year in which Ferrari managed just five double points-hauls, this season the Italian stable is two from two.

Leclerc and his new team-mate Carlos Sainz scored in both the Bahrain and Emilia Romagna races with the latter seeing both drivers finish inside the top five.

Leclerc missed out on the podium by less than two seconds with Sainz a further 1.5s down on his team-mate.

Asked for his thoughts on Ferrari’s improved form, Leclerc said: “Surprised, yes and no.

“Because I’ve seen all of the work that has been put into last year to just come back to where we want to be, which is not yet happening.

“We are fourth, we’ve done a good step forward compared to last year and I know how much everyone worked back at the factor to do a step forward from last year to this year.

“So no, on that side it’s not a surprise, but it’s nice to see that all of the work paid off and we are managing to be in better shape this year but there is still a lot of work to do.”

Ferrari are sitting fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with 34 points, seven behind McLaren.

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Such has been Ferrari’s forward momentum that Leclerc even found himself racing Max Verstappen for the lead last time out at Imola.

The Monégasque driver lined up behind the Red Bull for a rolling restart after a red flag for George Russell and Valtteri Bottas’ crash.

Leclerc, though, wasn’t able to stick with Verstappen for very long and was eventually passed by Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris to fall off the podium.

“It wasn’t easy, not at all,” Leclerc said. “But it was fun.

“It was good to be able to show that in those conditions we seem to have made a step forward, which has been a weakness on my side.

“But also in general the feeling with the car wasn’t great. Last year and also the year before in those conditions and in Imola, it felt quite nice.”

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