Charles Leclerc explains gap to Carlos Sainz despite Ferrari strength in Singapore

Leclerc has fallen off the pace of his Ferrari teammate since the summer break despite significant improvements to the car

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Charles Leclerc has said he has been struggling with his Ferrari ever since the F1 summer break as he once again came off second best to teammate Carlos Sainz in qualifying for the Singapore GP.

The Monegasque will start the race from third on the grid while Sainz took his second consecutive pole position, with the Mercedes of George Russell splitting the two Ferraris in second.

Sainz was faster than Leclerc throughout the practice sessions and carried that pace over into qualifying, and with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez starting from the back half of the grid, the Spaniard has a realistic chance of braking their streak of victories.

However, Leclerc has fallen off the pace of his teammate, and he said that he was lacking confidence in the car ever since F1 returned at the Dutch GP.

“I’m struggling a little bit more, since the restart after the break actually, with the car,” Leclerc told media after the session.

“Quite a bit of understeer, but then also quite snappy, so difficult to predict what is the car going to do on the track, which I pay the price a little bit with the confidence I have inside the car.

“But at the same time honestly, it was a good lap. A small mistake in Turn 17 which cost me too much, but apart from that I’m happy with the lap, just it wasn’t enough today though.”

Step in right direction

Despite his own struggles, Leclerc highlighted the progress Ferrari have made after a challenging start to the season left them languishing behind their rivals and some distance off the dominant Red Bull pair.

“For sure the the team has done an incredible job, as Carlos said, though, I think Singapore we’ve always been quick so we shouldn’t get carried away,” Leclerc said.

“But it’s a good step in the right direction. I think we understood few things in Monza on a very different track, but we still understood things that I think will be helpful for the rest of the season.

“I don’t think it will be that much of a difference on every tracks. But it’s good to see that we have a very good performance until now here.”

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