Charles Leclerc outlines areas Ferrari need to work on ahead of US Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc starts on pole position for the 2023 United States GP in Austin

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Charles Leclerc believes Sunday’s 2023 United States Grand Prix will be a closely fought race after finishing third in Saturday’s Sprint Race, but did outline a few things Ferrari need to working before lights out in Austin.

After snatching pole for Sunday’s Grand Prix, Leclerc could not match Verstappen’s pace in Saturday’s Sprint Race, finishing a distant third ahead behind the Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton‘s Mercedes.

“I mean, it’s going to be tight,” explained Leclerc to the press. “As much as it’s going to be tight with the Mercedes guys. 

“I expected Max to get ahead and [there] not [to] be too much of a fight. But otherwise, it’s going to be tight. 

“We struggled a little bit with with tyres. So one that we really need to work on for because this is going to be key for the race. And we seem to struggle mostly with the rear tyres towards the end of the race.

“I think we have to look into our data and try to understand what we can do better for the [tyre] degradation, because the pace is there. It’s always been there. Sometimes we seem to be a bit inconsistent with our race pace.

“We’ve got tonight to work on it and to try and understand what we can do better even though we cannot change the car.”

Leclerc backs Verstappen manoeuvre into Turn 1

At the start of the Sprint, Leclerc briefly got alongside Verstappen on the run down to Turn 1, but the Dutchman moved across the Monegasque, protecting his lead and opening the door to Hamilton.

Hamilton then snatched second at the exit of Turn 1 before setting off in hot pursuit of Verstappen, getting within DRS range and dropping Leclerc, who finished 17 seconds behind the triple world champion.

“I had a good start,” reflected Leclerc. “Then I saw a little gap on the left. I tried to go for it, and then it was very tight into turn one unfortunately lost momentum by fighting Max, and Lewis got alongside me.

“To be honest, I would have done exactly the same if I was in his position. So it’s on the limits, but as I’ve always said in the past, that’s the way I like to fight.

“Then we didn’t have the DRS, and then I was just doing my own race. Lewis and Max were too strong, especially in the first few laps. 

“Towards the end. We were more on the pace of Lewis, but it was too late. Today didn’t play my way, but that’s that’s fine. It’s part of racing, and I’m happy with it.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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