Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has said that Red Bull are on “another planet” to the Scuderia despite the Monegasque qualifying second for the Saudi Arabian GP.
Leclerc will start the race in Jeddah from outside the top 10 as he serves a 10-place grid penalty after Ferrari opted to change parts on his power unit following his retirement at the Bahrain GP last time out.
He will be joined in the midfield by Max Verstappen, who was forced to retire in Q2 after his car suffered a driveshaft failure, which left the Dutchman limping back to the pits before his session was prematurely ended.
And while Leclerc said while he was happy with the flying lap which put him second behind pole sitter Sergio Perez, he was less optimistic about Ferrari’s overall performance.
“On one hand, I think it’s been a very difficult weekend in terms of pace for us, but I’m very happy about my lap. I think I put everything in it. It was really, really on the limit,” Leclerc told Sky Sports F1.
“On the other hand, Red Bull are in another planet and we are struggling a little bit, so we need to we need to keep pushing.
“That’s what we are doing as a team, but it’s not going to be easy.
I have a 10 place grid penalty, so we’ll be starting a little bit further back.
“But we’ll focus on the race and hopefully come back to the front as quickly as possible.”
Race pace close
Despite facing a steep climb back into the top spots in the race, Leclerc was more positive about Ferrari’s overall race pace.
“The race pace looked quite good, but it’s very difficult to compare because in FP2, everybody has a very different programme.
“So we will see, but it seemed a little bit better. But it’s not going to be easy, I feel like everybody is very close in the race pace.