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Charles Leclerc "surprised" by McLaren's pace

Charles Leclerc has made a solid start to the season. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Charles Leclerc has made a solid start to the season. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Modified 29 Mar 2021

Charles Leclerc had a great outing at the Bahrain Grand Prix. After struggling in the free practice sessions, the Monegasque driverwas finally able to line everything up perfectly on the last lap of Q3 to snatch P4 on the grid.

He followed up a great qualifying effort with a fantastic race where he ran as high as third at one point before eventually falling behind Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris to finish sixth.

When asked if he was surprised by how quick the McLaren was at Bahrain, Charles Leclerc told Sky Italy, "Honestly, they surprised me more than what I was expecting.They were competitive in FP2 with the race pace, but they didn’t show the pace they put on the track today. So, yes, they surprised me.”

There's still work to do: Charles Leclerc

Speaking about how his race panned out, Charles Leclerc said:

"I made a good start at the beginning of the race, then I managed to handle the tires quite well. Maybe we did the pit-stop a bit early, but we did that because we wanted to put our opponents under pressure. And we managed to do that, but then at the end of the race, we suffered from the tires."

After a torrid season in 2020 that saw them run outside the points-scoring positions on an alarmingly regular basis, the Bahrain Grand Prix proved that Ferrari have made a significant step forward in 2021. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain this level of performance as the season progresses and perhaps even build on it to contend for podiums on a regular basis.

“Every time we make some progress we must recognize that," said Leclerc. "But there is still much more work to do...Historically, we, as a team, have never been very strong on this track, except in 2019. So, I think it’s a positive start, now we still have a lot of work to do.”
Published 29 Mar 2021, 16:57 IST
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