Charles Leclerc unhappy with Imola podium and explains issue that cost Ferrari

The Ferrari driver finished on the podium again but he still wasn't satisfied with his third place at Imola

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Charles Leclerc admitted he wasn’t happy with finishing third at the 2024 Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, after Ferrari’s upgrades failed to produce a tangible boost to their performance.

The Monegasque secured his fourth podium finish of the season to maintain his record after finishing fourth or higher in all seven races in 2024, highlighting his consistency for the Scuderia.

But Leclerc was never realistically in the conversation to challenge for the victory, with McLaren’s Lando Norris instead taking the fight to Max Verstappen in the latter stages of the race at Imola before the Red Bull star prevailed.

And the 26-year-old, who celebrated with the Tifosi on the podium at one of Ferrari’s two home races, was disappointed to miss out on the race victory. However, he explained that issues with their power unit firing – with Sainz also affected – hampered their chances.

“It’s always very special to be on the podium here in Imola. However, obviously I’m never satisfied with the P3. You always want to be on the top step of the podium,” Leclerc told the press, including Total-Motorsport.com.

Carlos Sainz during practice for 2024 Emilia Romagna GP at Imola | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Carlos Sainz during practice for 2024 Emilia Romagna GP at Imola | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

“Considering everything, I think we have lost mostly what could have been yesterday in qualifying and and we’ll analyse this. But today in the race, as Lando said, we were all very, very close. And it was all about who was pushing when [at different points] in the race.”

Describing the issues he experienced, Leclerc added: “I think we basically lost everything at the launch. For some reason we had a slightly different power strategy compared to McLaren and Red Bull and we lost everything on the rundown to Turn 2.

“Max, on top of that, had the slipstream but this is something we’ll have to look into because, especially on a track like this, track position is absolutely everything and when you only have a tenth between Red Bull, McLaren and ourselves, we need to do everything perfect. And the third place [in qualifying] today cost us maybe a better result in the race.”

Ferrari’s upgrades fail to fire

Ferrari’s lack of pace came as a surprise after bringing major upgrades to Imola, which boss Fred Vasseur had predicted would “definitely” allow them to challenge for the win.

But Carlos Sainz spent half of the race defending from Oscar Piastri and Leclerc was unable to close in on Norris, suggesting the upgrades weren’t as effective as first thought. However, Leclerc believes the best is yet to come from their modifications to the SF-24, and thinks the Imola track was not suited to where they have developed the car.

“It’s not the best truck to judge upgrades. Mostly because curb riding is such a thing here that if you have a good car on curbs, then that could hide a bit more what is the real order,” Leclerc added.

“The good thing is that everything we expected from those upgrades, we had it in terms of data, it did exactly what it was supposed to do, which is always a good thing.”

It remains to be seen if the Monaco GP is more to the Scuderia’s liking, with the challenging street circuit containing a number of slower corners. But at his home race, Leclerc will be gunning for his first victory since Austria in 2022.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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