Leclerc Determined To Score Big In Imola: 'Target Is Still Win'

Sunday, 19 May 2024 at 09:00
charles leclerc ferrari64
Speaking to the media after the qualifying, Charles Leclerc revealed he was "disappointed," but his goal of going into the race remains the same.
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying was a big moment for Ferrari, as they would see for the first time how their upgrades compare to those of their competitors.
McLaren didn't introduce anything new in Imola, but the team had a new package in Miami that brought them decent performance, and Red Bull brought some new parts for the Grand Prix as well.
Charles Leclerc topped the timing sheets during the FP1 and FP2, raising the hopes of the Italian home crowd. However, he didn't quite have the pace to match McLaren and Red Bull's Max Verstappen come qualifying.
Ultimately, the Monegasque driver beat his own teammate, Carlos Sainz, but his time was only good enough for P4. The Ferrari driver got a bit lucky, as Oscar Piastri received a penalty after qualifying.
This meant that Leclerc gained one position and would start the race from P3. Nevertheless, he shared he was disappointed with the result, as he told the media at Imola Circuit:

"I'm a bit disappointed. Just today there wasn't much more in the car. FP1 and FP2 went really well, however we never know what are 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, when you are at [Ferrari's] home, you obviously want to do really well, but today was the best we could do.

As opposed to some of the previous seasons, Ferrari now has a great race pace, and the car allows its drivers much better to manage their tires. Consequently, Leclerc still feels like aiming for the win is realistic, but he sees some challenges:

"Tomorrow we will focus on maxmising the result, but the target remains the win, for sure. The car is definitely good in terms of race pace, however it's one of the most difficult tracks to overtake on."

"Also I don't quite understand why the DRS [zone] is shorter this year, which is going to make overtakes a bit more difficult."

Leclerc will be starting right behind Max Verstappen (who is on pole), and the run into the first corner is quite long, so he has a slight chance of getting into the lead by then. He added:

"But strategy is still there, the pace is there, so my target is still the win, and if we come short of this, it’s life, we will have tried at least."