Leclerc: We couldn’t have done better

Leclerc: We couldn’t have done better

Leclerc: We couldn’t have done better

Charles Leclerc admitted, after finishing third in the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, that Ferrari couldn’t have managed a better result.

Leclerc spit the Red Bulls in qualifying, and while polesitter and eventual race winner Max Verstappen drove off into the distance, the Monegasque was under attack from Sergio Perez who started third, and while a first-lap attack by the Mexican failed, he soon managed to take second.

From there the situation of the top three stabilized and while Perez had a five second penalty for unsafe release in the pitlane, Leclerc couldn’t close the gap enough to benefit and take second – third the best he could achieve in addition to the fastest lap of the race.

Speaking in Ferrari‘s press release, Leclerc said: “We maximised our potential today and couldn’t have done better than this.

“We struggled a bit on the Mediums, the Hards were tricky at first but improved throughout the stint and I was able to set the fastest lap on them with a bit of help from DRS. All in all, I felt good in the car,” he explained.

Leclerc spared a few words for Oliver Bearman, who replaced the ill Carlos Sainz, the rookie delivering an impressive performance to finish seventh and score points on his Formula 1 debut.

“Ollie did an exceptional job this weekend,” Leclerc said. “To get into a Formula 1 car starting from FP3, when you don’t know the car and the track is one of the most challenging of the season, it is impressive to see someone get up to speed so quickly.

“It was super nice to see him so happy and excited all weekend and he’s done a great job,” the winner of five grands prix concluded.

Bearman: Race was physically demanding

Bearman said after concluding his F1 debut: “What a great experience and opportunity to have my first race in Formula 1 with Scuderia Ferrari.

“It was physically demanding, especially in the end when I had Lando (Norris) and Lewis (Hamilton) behind me on Softs. I had to push flat out to maintain the gap and had to stay really focused, always checking my mirrors.

“It was a shame that the Safety Car came out so early, as I was comfortable on the Softs, but of course it was the right call to pit then and I’m very happy with the result.

“I’m confident that I maximised everything today and had great fun out there. I’ll never forget this weekend. Thank you to the whole team for their support and for giving me the chance to race,” the young Briton concluded.

Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur summed up the team’s grand prix in Jeddah, he said: “With Charles today, I think we paid the price a little bit in the first part of the race of not being in clean air.

“Unfortunately, after the pit stop, he lost time with Lando Norris and so he was unable to get close enough to Sergio Perez to try and make the most of the five second penalty handed out to the Mexican.

Vasseur: We hope Sainz will be able to race in Australia

“Overall, Charles produced a solid race and when he had a clear track ahead of him he was able to match the pace of the Red Bulls to the extent that he set the fastest lap at the very end.

“We have to put our rivals under pressure if we want to beat them and today, we didn’t manage it. The good news is that we have made progress in terms of the tyres and had minimal degradation,” the Frenchman insisted.

“As for Ollie, I didn’t have any specific expectations given the circumstance that led to him being in the car,” Vasseur continued. “And yet, he managed these two days amazingly well, almost like a veteran.

“There were no problems with his start or at the pit stop, things that were all new to him. He was always calm and precise with his feedback over the radio and gradually his confidence in the car grew so that towards the end he managed to keep two great drivers, Lando (Norris) and Lewis (Hamilton) behind him,” he explained.

Vasseur gave Sainz – who was present in the Ferrari garage despite his operation one day earlier – some words and hoped the Spaniard will be back in the cockpit soon.

He said: “It was nice that Carlos was able to join us at the track today, just over 24 hours after his operation and we hope he will be able to race in Australia.

“If nothing else, this weekend has taught us that, if the need arises again, we have a reserve driver who is very much up to the task,” Vasseur concluded.