Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2023

Ferrari achieved the “maximum” but “there’s still a lot of work to do” – Leclerc

2023 Austrian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari achieved the maximum in today’s Austrian Grand Prix, crediting their latest upgrades for his increased performance.

The 25-year-old finished second, taking his first podium finish since Baku. He split the Red Bull cars, Max Verstappen winning with Sergio Perez third.

He rebounded from a disappointing sprint race where he finished outside of the points in damp conditions. In dry conditions his Ferrari has shown stronger pace, and Leclerc qualified second for the grand prix on Friday.

However, Leclerc trailed Verstappen by 24 seconds in the closing stages of the race, before the world champion’s late pit stop. Leclerc said knows Ferrari are still far from where they want to be.

“I think Friday and today we have maximised what we had,” said Leclerc. “It’s more yesterday that I was off the pace, but it’s good to be back on the podium.

“The upgrades that we brought on the car made me feel a little bit better in those conditions, which is looking good for the future.

“The team has done an excellent job by bringing these upgrades earlier, so that’s great. But obviously there’s still a lot of work to do because Max and Checo had a lot of pace.”

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Race start, Red Bull Ring, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures
While Leclerc pitted under the Virtual Safety Car on lap 16, Verstappen stayed out for nine more tours of the circuit. When the Red Bull driver came in, Leclerc went into the lead and held it for 10 more laps.

But Leclerc knew it wouldn’t be long before Verstappen overtook him with Ferrari struggling in certain conditions.

“We were struggling quite a lot in dirty air,” he added. “So I was just trying to get the track position even though we knew that in the long-term for the whole race it would have been difficult to keep Max behind with the race pace he had.

“I tried and it wasn’t enough. At least it’s good to be back on the podium, especially after the last few races that have been a bit more difficult.”

Next weekend’s race is the British Grand Prix. Leclerc is hopeful Ferrari’s upgrade will help them further bridge the gap to Red Bull.

“In Silverstone, we’ve always had great results so hopefully we can take advantage of the new upgrades we’ll have on the car, and be a bit more of a challenge to the Red Bulls,” said Leclerc.

Leclerc has moved up to sixth in the championship on 72 points, just 14 behind team-mate Carlos Sainz in fifth who finished fourth today.

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2023 Austrian Grand Prix

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Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...

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8 comments on “Ferrari achieved the “maximum” but “there’s still a lot of work to do” – Leclerc”

  1. Charles achieved the maximum with the help of the team but Carlos was quite a lot faster and should have been let past. I think he could have been 2nd instead of 4th.

    1. I’m not sure Sainz was faster @w0o0dy. He was able to keep close due to the DRS and accrued multiple track limits in pursuit.

      Once the pit stops were over the gap steadily grew – Sainz race was compromised by his penalty and not overruling the team on strategy which they had a whole lap to think about. Without the five seconds he would have been third fighting Perez a lot later to the end and perhaps kept it.

      1. +1.

        Don’t think the strategy had any (significant) negative impact on SAI’s race. That 5sec penalty seems like a more obvious setback and, as you said, without it he should have been in the position of having a real chance to fight for 3rd.

        1. Absolutely, considering how well he was able to defend (which surprised me).

      2. He was faster and they should let him go and have a go.. now he was stuck behind Leclerc and was only going to go backwards and run into trouble, which he did.

        1. He wasn’t faster he was simply kept up by abusing the track limits to sit in the DRS to pressurise the team into moving Leclerc over. Ferrari saw no benefit to letting them fight and lose time to Verstappen, Norris, Perez etc.

          The only trouble he ran into was due to his own driving errors and unwillingness to change onto the Red Bull strategy.

          Sainz, particularly given his pace on Saturday, should have been a comfortable P3 this weekend and ended up P6. He’s no-one to blame but himself.

    2. Yes, there’s no way he’d have been 2nd, at best he could’ve kept perez behind if he was indeed faster at that time and they had let him past, but even that is debatable considering drs.

  2. I think Leclerc is flattering Ferrari on this race weekend. Ferrari are always competitive in quali, especially at the Red Bull ring, so for both Ferraris to line up 2nd and 3rd isn’t all that surprising. Ferrari has always been weak at race pace, and they would have finished the race 24 seconds behind Verstappen, despite getting lucky with a safety car period. So, in normal conditions, they would have been over 30 seconds behind. That’s around 0.5 seconds a lap slower on race pace in general.

    Ferrari were lucky that this wasn’t an Aston martin (or Alonso) circuit, and Mercedes really dropped the ball this weekend, or else, another P4 to P6 result is the best they could have managed.

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