Is Leclerc Not Too Optimistic About Ferrari’s Chances At Jeddah?

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

In his first hot lap in the final qualifying run at Jeddah, the home to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was finally able to put on a strong lap, decent enough to nearly outpace the eventual pole sitter: Max Verstappen.

The famous Monegasque driver, who secured a fourth in the season opener at Bahrain just last weekend, took three-tenths out of Max Verstappen at qualifying for round#2 of the 2024 season at Jeddah.

But despite securing a P2, which is the best place to be on the grid if one is to challenge the Red Bull authority on the grid, it appears as though Leclerc isn’t too optimistic about Ferrari’s chances at the forthcoming race.

So why is that? What insights did Charles Leclerc, whose most recent pole lap came about at the first ever Las Vegas Grand Prix, offer about the quali action at Jeddah?

“The first lap in Q3, we tried something different during the preparation lap, but that didn’t work out and then on the second lap, I put everything together,” is what Leclerc exclaimed post completion of a closely fought Ferrari versus Red Bull action on Friday.

However, it wasn’t that Leclerc took his second in qualifying, which if you think about, isn’t a shoddy result, for granted.

He was of the view that: “That was what was in the car today , so I am really happy with the lap, it is just a shame that we are a bit further away than we hoped in qualifying. But I hope we’ll have a good surprise and be able to challenge the Red Bulls [in the race].”

Reflecting on just where does Ferrari figure this year in comparison to where they were this time last year, he offered an insight:

“We made a step forward compared to last year, I felt more comfortable in the car and it is in a better place for race runs. We just have to focus on ourselves, and obviously we cannot change the car for the race, so we will try to optimise everything and see what is possible.”

All that told, it does appear as though the only car that could possibly challenge the rampaging Red Bull this weekend is Ferrari, after all. The very fact that Leclerc was able to bisect the two Red Bulls on a sizzling Friday night is a teller about the SF 24’s great qualifying pace. But then whether the hot laps put in Q3’s dying moments could well translate into great race pace is a completely different matter and something that only the future will reveal.

Of course, Ferrari would love an affirmative in the next few hours.

How Much Did The Jeddah Circuit Cost
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – MARCH 19: A general view of fireworks at the podium celebrations following the race win of Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202303190656 // Usage for editorial use only //

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