'Max Is Going To Be Too Strong': Leclerc Pessimistic Ahead Of Australian Grand Prix

Sunday, 24 March 2024 at 01:15
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Charles Leclerc had a disappointing qualifying session ahead of the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, and he knows win may be too far way.
The Monegasque driver finished only fifth in the qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix. That's unusual for the driver who always made it to the front row in the last seven Grands Prix prior to the race at the Albert Park Circuit.
The 26-year-old struggled already during the FP3 session, however, as he revealed in when talking to Autosport, it's not the first time he struggled during the practice, but usually, the performance returns during the qualifying.

"To be honest, I think it's starting from much earlier in the weekend. In FP3 already, I felt like it was going away a little bit from me, but I was confident that it will come back the feeling in qualifying, as is normally the case."

But that wasn't the case in Australia, as he continued to struggle also during the qualifying and that showed on his result, finishing even behind Lando Norris in McLaren.

"Whenever we have a strange feeling in FP3, then you put the new tyres in quali, low fuel, and everything comes alive again. Today wasn't the case. I struggled quite a lot with the front tyres, until the last run in Q3 where I went very aggressive with the front wing to try something, and I went the other way."

Predicting the race, Leclerc suggested that catching Max Verstappen in Red Bull may be impossible, but he wanted to target other Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez.
At the time, the Ferrari driver didn't know that Perez would receive a three-place grid penalty, meaning he will start the race behind him in sixth position, with Leclerc moving up to fourth.

"I think realistically, it's going to be difficult to target the win because Max [Verstappen] is going to be too strong. Checo [Perez] might be a target."

"But they seem strong once again because they have again more margin than what we initially thought they had yesterday. But all-in-all my target is obviously to try and come back and be on the podium. And if that's beating Checo, then we'll try and do that."