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Leclerc thinks that Red Bull and McLaren ‘are doing something weird’

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc expressed his joy at securing a podium in front of the passionate Tifosi at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, but recognised issues holding the team back

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Leclerc was elated with his podium finish but acknowledged how “incredibly quick” rival teams were.

Charles Leclerc Imola
Charles Leclerc achieved P3 at the 2024 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. (Image Credit: @ScuderiaFerrari on Twitter)

The 26-year-old lined up in P3 on the grid with the team opting for a medium tyre. The Monégasque driver began to pick up the pace after his pit stop. He applied pressure to McLaren’s Lando Norris, securing his first podium at the circuit

On Leclerc’s second stint on hard tyres, he closed the gap to Norris. However, he made a mistake at the Variante Alta chicane. Although unable to contend for the race victory, Leclerc expressed satisfaction in securing a podium finish.

Post-race clarity

Following the race, Leclerc spoke to Sky Sports, sharing his thoughts on the day’s event. He expressed optimism about Ferrari’s improved car performance at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix and the potential momentum for upcoming races. He said:

“At least it’s a podium. Of course. I’m only very happy when I win, and today, we didn’t quite make it.”

Leclerc promptly acknowledged Norris’ impressive pace, highlighting McLaren’s significant improvement. He stated:

“We were very fast at the beginning of the stint on the hard [tyre]. I started to push to try and put some pressure on Lando [Norris], but later on they were incredibly quick. All in all, I think the race pace today was quite strong.”

The Woking-based outfit finished the race just 0.725 seconds behind the reigning world champion, Max Verstappen, showcasing their remarkable progress.

Norris managed to create a gap of seven seconds between himself and Leclerc, ultimately squashing Ferrari’s chance of contending for P1.

Charles Leclerc Imola
Charles Leclerc racing at his team’s home race in Imola. (Image Credit: @Charles_Leclerc on Twitter)
Suspicious minds

Although pleased with the weekend and the team’s progress with the car, Leclerc clarified that there was still work to be done. As reported by Racingnews365, the 26-year-old was quick to point out that rivals, Red Bull and McLaren were doing something weird with their engines to achieve better speeds.

Despite the weekend ending on a high note, he shared his concerns:

“I think our race pace is very, very strong. I’m more optimistic than yesterday looking back at the qualifying because this is where I think we are lacking on a weekend like this.”

He continued:

“We lost everything in the straights, and they are doing something weird with the energy, engine-wise, McLaren and Red Bull. We will look into that. Once we fix that, we’ve got a real shot of going back onto the top step of the podium.” 

Featured Image Credit: @Charles_Leclerc on Twitter

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