Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2024

Ferrari has “best shot” yet of fighting Red Bull in Melbourne – Leclerc

Formula 1

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Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari have their “best shot” of taking the fight to Red Bull in Melbourne after setting the pace in Friday practice.

His quickest lap in the second practice session was almost four tenths of a second quicker than that managed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen

The Ferrari driver says he feels “good” about the 48 laps he covered between the two practice sessions. But he is eager to keep pushing for more performance ahead of what could be a highly competitive qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix.

“It feels good for now,” Leclerc told the official F1 channel. “We’ve had a positive day from the first laps in FP1 to the end of FP2, so that’s a good start. However, we need to keep working very hard because I’m sure that we’ll see some surprises tomorrow.

“There’s still margin to improve in some things. Our race run was pretty good, which is encouraging, but let’s keep working.”

Red Bull have dominated the first two rounds of the championship with one-two victories for Verstappen and team mate Sergio Perez. Ferrari finished on the podium behind the Red Bulls on both occasions with Carlos Sainz Jnr and Leclerc, respectively. Leclerc is feeling more confident about Ferrari’s performance in Australia than he was after the first two Fridays of the season so far.

“I will say that we are in a better position than the first two races,” he said. “However, Red Bull weren’t pushing yet, so we’ve got to wait and see where their potential is at. I think they are still ahead, but we might have our best shot this weekend from the beginning of the season.”

Leclerc says he was even encouraged by the pace of the SF-24 during the high fuel runs over the final third of second practice.

“The race pace looked quite strong. But, again, it’s very difficult to compare because some drivers had a lot of traffic,” he said.

“We had relatively clean laps. But it looked quite good. Better that it looks good on Friday than the other way round. So it’s a good start, but we still need to keep pushing and see what’s possible tomorrow.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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One comment on “Ferrari has “best shot” yet of fighting Red Bull in Melbourne – Leclerc”

  1. Hm, well. We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow after qualifying. I still am not expecting more than just beating one Red Bull to the front row and having a solid shot at a podium really.

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