*** ----> Ferrari under-estimated rivals pace at Imola - Leclerc | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Ferrari under-estimated rivals pace at Imola - Leclerc

AFP | Imola  

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Charles Leclerc suggested that Ferrari may have under-estimated the hidden potential of rivals McLaren and Red Bull after slipping from pace-setters to fourth and fifth in yesterday’s qualifying for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Monegasque driver, who was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday, qualified fourth behind pole-sitter Max Verstappen of Red Bull and the two McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris. “I’m a bit disappointed,” admitted Leclerc.

“Just today, there wasn’t much more in the car. FP1 and FP2 went really well. However, we never know the fuel levels of the others and I think they hid their game a bit more than what we thought.

“That ended up by just having not enough performance in the car to do better today. “It’s a shame because when you have upgrades on the car and when you are at home, you obviously want to do really well, but today was the best we could do.

“Tomorrow, we will focus on maximising the result, but for us the target remains to win for sure. The car is definitely good in terms of race pace.

“But, this is one of the most difficult tracks to overtake on and, also, I don’t quite understand why the DRS (Drag Reduction System) zone is shorter this year, which is going to make overtakes a bit more difficult.

“But strategy is still there, the pace is there, so my target is still the win and if we come short of this, well, that’s life. We will have tried at least.” Team-mate Carlos Sainz, winner of the Australian Grand Prix earlier this year, said he thought McLaren’s pace was superior at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

“I think looking in detail, the whole weekend McLaren have looked a bit stronger than us in single-lap pace on the softs,” he said. “They just were not putting a lap together, but we knew coming to qualifying they were going to be difficult to beat.

“And then, we had Max who always gets there. Even if they run the engine turned down always in practice and they look like they are struggling, we know they have a lot to come in qualifying