Charles Leclerc wasn’t too pleased with his qualifying performance at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, despite finishing just 0.155s behind pole position winner, Sergio Perez. The Ferrari driver believes that the gap between his team and Red Bull is much wider than it appeared on Saturday. Leclerc will start the race from 12th position, after being handed a ten-place grid penalty for exceeding the allowed number of control electronics following reliability problems at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Leclerc wasn’t overly optimistic about his team’s progress, despite performing better than he did at the Bahrain Grand Prix, where he was 0.3s off the pole position. He was wary of speaking too highly about Ferrari‘s performance, especially given reigning champion Max Verstappen‘s dismissal from qualifying due to a driveshaft failure. “Eventually my goal is to beat the Red Bull, it’s not to finish second or third or fourth or whatever. So there is still a lot of work to do to before getting to their level,” said Leclerc.
In terms of race pace, Leclerc believes that Ferrari is on par with Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Alpine. However, he fully expects Verstappen, who will start 15th, to quickly make his way up through the field. Leclerc remains determined to claw his way back to the front of the pack, despite his ten-place grid penalty.