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    Can Charles Leclerc and Ferrari challenge Red Bull for Australian GP pole?

    Charles Leclerc has expressed his opinion that qualifying and the 2023 Australian Grand Prix should be a close battle between Ferrari and Red Bull

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    Charles Leclerc feels Ferrari could be closer to Red Bull in Saturday’s qualifying session for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.

    The 2023 F1 season hasn’t started well for the Maranello-based outfit, but both practice sessions were positive for Leclerc as he set the fifth-fastest time in the morning and the second-quickest time in the afternoon.

    “We did quite a lot of scans in terms of set-up direction,” said Leclerc to the media. “I think the feeling is a bit better than in Bahrain and Jeddah. It’s probably our most positive FP2 of the season.

    “It doesn’t mean much, but at least it’s a Friday which ends on a positive note. Hopefully, we’ll be a bit closer to the Red Bulls tomorrow.”

    Charles Leclerc at 2023 Australian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

    Closer race anticipated

    Although he hasn’t taken a pole position since the 2022 Singapore GP, Leclerc thinks he can break the drought at a track where he dominated last year.

    However qualifying, the team hopes to learn more about its long-run pace after curtailing its expected Friday programme following a rain-affected FP2.

    “I think it will be close once again in the race,” said Leclerc. “Unfortunately, with the rain, nobody did the high-fuel runs.

    “We are going a little bit blind into the race, so hopefully, in FP3, we’ll see more long runs, and we will manage to learn a bit more then.”

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