The battle between Ferrari and Red Bull is expected to be intense in the upcoming sprint event, with both teams showing similar one-lap speed. If Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen can replicate their qualifying performances in the shootout session, fans could witness an exhilarating race-long duel between the two drivers. Leclerc, who qualified second for the Grand Prix, is optimistic about Ferrari‘s chances, especially with the activation of DRS on the second lap of sprint races, which will allow them to stay within one second of Red Bull. However, Leclerc acknowledges the formidable pace of the Red Bull team, making victory a challenging feat.
Leclerc and his teammate Carlos Sainz are not getting carried away with their chances of defeating Verstappen in the Red Bull Ring race. Both drivers acknowledge that their cars have undergone significant changes since last year, when Leclerc secured a victory over Verstappen in the Austrian GP. Ferrari is uncertain of its ability to maintain consistent tire degradation, which has been a weakness against the Red Bull team. Sainz emphasizes the importance of race pace and tire management, as the sprint race still involves a significant number of laps, similar to a regular race. Despite their past success against Red Bull, Leclerc and Sainz recognize the strength of their rivals and anticipate a challenging battle.
Leclerc adds that Ferrari‘s decision to increase their front wing for the final run in Q3 did not have the desired effect, resulting in a 0.048s gap to Verstappen. However, he believes this is part of the game and remains positive about the team’s performance. Recognizing their weakness in races, Ferrari is eager to confirm the positive signs they showed in Canada and put their upgrades, including the front wing and floor front, to the test. Leclerc commends the team for their efforts in bringing the upgrades earlier than planned, which provided a good feeling with the car during qualifying. The race will reveal whether Ferrari can capitalize on their improvements and challenge Red Bull‘s dominance.