Leclerc confident Ferrari set-up geared towards race will ‘pay off’


Charles Leclerc says qualifying has left him further back on the Chinese GP grid than expected, but the Ferrari charger is confident that a set-up geared towards Sunday’s race “is going to pay off”.

Leclerc clocked in sixth at the end of Saturday’s shootout, the Monegasque preceded in the pecking order by both Red Bulls, the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and both McLarens.

However, Leclerc reclaimed his qualifying ascendency over Scuderia teammate Carlos Sainz in the session.

The five-time Grand Prix winner noted his car’s weakness in the first sector, but hinted at how to correct the deficit while emphasizing his belief that his SF-24 is well set-up for race day.

“We struggled a lot in the first sector, which I can have an idea of, and I don’t think it comes from tyre preparation this time,” he explained.

“But we set the car up on my side mostly for the race tomorrow. I think it’s going to pay off tomorrow.

“However, we did not expect McLaren and Fernando to be able to jump us, so I was happy to sacrifice being P3 behind the Red Bulls with a good car for the race.

“But now obviously we are starting P6, so it’s a bit further back than what we would have liked.


“However, we have a good race pace, good tyre management, that gives me the confidence that we can come back to third tomorrow.

“But we need to get past quickly and hopefully there are no DRS trains.”

Ahead of this weekend’s round of racing in China, in light of his recent struggles in qualifying, Leclerc made it a point to work with his engineers on his single-lap form, one of the Monegasque’s typically strong assets.

Leclerc reckoned that he was on the right path to recovering his Saturday afternoon pace.

“I mean there was no special lap or whatsoever like I like to do in qualifying,” he said.

“So not yet at the level where I want to be but I’m on the right path and as I said it’s a matter of time and I don’t think it’s going to be long.

“Already this weekend has been a better feeling and next weekend I’m sure will be all good.”

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