Charles Leclerc seemed to be playing catchup with teammate Carlos Sainz during practice on Friday in Monaco, and admits his SF-23 is not the best car this weekend.
Many expected Monaco to reduce Red Bull’s advantage over the Formula 1 field as the twisty circuit doesn’t feature the long straights and high speed corner the RB19 excels in, but while Ferrari and Aston Martin seem to be a bit closer, Max Verstappen seemed to retain his edge from what we’ve seen on Friday.
Homegrown hero, Charles Leclerc, did not seem to get in the rhythm on Friday, but ended the day 0.065s off Verstappen in FP2 while teammate Carlos Sainz crashed, despite looking racier all day long.
“Yes, we are, we are okay, but Aston Martin and Red Bull seem to be very quick as well, so we still need to do a step forward,” Leclerc told F1’s Official Website when asked if Ferrari are in the fight in Monaco.
“The feeling in the car wasn’t too bad in FP1, a bit difficult… In FP2 a little bit better, but there were some things that were a little bit unexpected on my car, so we’ll work during the night to have the car exactly as I want tomorrow,” he explained.
The Monegasque vows to keep pushing
Leclerc is developing to be the best qualifier of his generation, but still make mistakes when pushing the limit of his Ferraris, a clear example was his qualifying crash in the previous race in Miami, but he vowed to keep the same approach.
“I’ll give it [my] all, qualifying is everything here,” he declared. “There’s lots of talks about my last race but qualifying has always been one of my strengths so I’m not worried, I’ll go for it and let’s see what happens.”
As for his chances of a third pole at home, Leclerc said: “I mean, I don’t think we have the best car. Again, Red Bull is faster, Aston Martin is [there or] thereabouts, but if we do a great job and I put everything [together] in my lap, then everything is possible.”
Leclerc is yet to win his home race despite starting twice from pole, which is what happened in 2022, but lost the win after one of Ferrari’s pit wall errors.