Leclerc: We have made a lot of progress compared to last year

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Charles Leclerc was very satisfied with a P4 finish at the Spanish Grand Prix, with the Monegasque driver running third for the first stint.

Leclerc made an excellent getaway and was able to jump Valtteri Bottas into third place, a spot he retained until the pit stop phase.

Despite not being able to hold onto that podium place, the 23-year-old showed strong race pace to keep ahead of Sergio Perez in the Red Bull in order to equal his best result of the season so far.

Formula 1 travels to Monaco for the next race and Leclerc hopes that the positive signs for Ferrari translate well for his home Grand Prix.

“It was a very good race,” he said. “I had a good start, then went for the outside in Turn 3, which worked out for us.

“From then on, we had a very competitive race. Our pace was strong, both on the Soft and Medium tyres. Still, P4 was the best we could achieve. I am really happy though, because from the cockpit you can feel when you do a good job and that was the case today.

“As a team, we did a really good job, everything went perfectly. We see that we have made a lot of progress compared to last year, and this is credit to everyone working so hard back at our factory in Maranello.

“We were quite strong in the third sector, which is very technical. Hopefully, that’s a positive sign for Monaco. Since the beginning of the season, we seem to be strong in the slow corners, so I am crossing my fingers that it will stay that way. I am really looking forward to my home race. Seeing fans there in the grandstands will be amazing and I hope to be just as competitive there.”

Carlos Sainz finished a few places back from Leclerc in seventh and was less happy with how things went during his home race.

“I am not very satisfied with P7 today, to be honest,” he added.

“I had a poor getaway at the start and after the first corner I found myself surrounded and lost a couple of places. From then onwards though, we had a very strong pace.

“Today the car was well balanced and it performed quite well with the tyres. We still lack a bit of speed on the straights, which makes us struggle for overtaking. We must work on that and I must keep working on refining some details, because today with a stronger start we could have made it to P5.

“The strategy worked well, and the guys put together a couple of fast pit stops. It was a good team effort and we leave Spain with good points for the Championship. We must continue to analyse where we weren’t perfect, and push from there.”