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Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc

Leclerc reveals Ferrari’s ‘missing’ factor in fight against Mercedes

The fight for second in the Constructors' Standings is between Mercedes and Ferrari

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The Scuderia currently sits third in the Constructors’ Standings, exactly twenty points behind Mercedes.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Mercedes Lewis Hamilton
Both Hamilton and Leclerc suffered a similar setback at the US Grand Prix. (Image: Sky Sports) 

With two races remaining this season, the battle for second in the Constructors’ could come down to the wire. Both Mercedes and Ferrari endured a disappointing weekend at the São Paulo Grand Prix. Mercedes driver George Russell was told to retire the car on lap 59, whilst Lewis Hamilton finished in P8 — behind Alpine’s Pierre Gasly. The team’s performance has since been described by team principal Toto Wolff as “inexcusable”.

Charles Leclerc wasn’t so lucky. The Ferrari driver found himself in the barrier on the formation after losing the SF-23’s hydraulics. His teammate, Carlos Sainz, managed two positions better than Hamilton, finishing P6. 

This poor weekend for Mercedes and Ferrari came not long after both Hamilton and Leclerc were disqualified from the United States Grand Prix. 

With two races remaining, and such a small points margin between the two teams, Charles Leclerc shared his view on which area he believes Ferrari are lacking. Speaking to RacingNews365, Leclerc revealed:

“Race pace is what we are missing the most but I will also say that yes, we are missing 20 points to Mercedes and short-term, this is where we should focus.”

“Since Zandvoort, we’ve made big steps forward in the understanding of our car, in the concepts that we have and the directions we’ve been taking,” he continued. “Until now the first part of the season was mostly down off experiencing what were the best directions to go into for the future.”

“We’ve set it a little bit more and understood which is the direction to push,” said Leclerc. “This gives me the confidence that we can close the gap in the future, then how close or when is much more difficult to answer.”

Seeking a return to form

With Red Bull so utterly dominant this season, Mercedes and Ferrari seem to be eagerly looking forward to next year. Both teams appear to have more confidence in their 2024 challengers than their current cars. 

Returning to its position as a title-challenger – which Ferrari had a taste of in 2022 – is the Scuderia’s long-term goal. “Ferrari wants to be back on top,” said Leclerc. However, the Monegasque acknowledged that this will be an enduring challenge. 

“There are many more points to recover to be the first team, especially against a Red Bull that is extremely strong at the moment,” he said. “That is the medium to long-term target, so that’s why we are putting all the efforts in order to be back to the level of performance we’ve seen at the beginning of last year, where we were fighting for wins and fighting for the championship.”

Featured Image Credit: Sky News

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