Leclerc believes Ferrari had the pace for a COTA podium

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Leclerc believes Ferrari had the pace for a COTA podium

Formula 1

Leclerc believes Ferrari had the pace for a COTA podium

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Charles Leclerc felt that he had a good chance of scoring a podium at the United States Grand Prix, such was the pace of Ferrari as he tried to capitalize on Sergio Perez’s struggles.

Perez had been feeling unwell pre-race and then had to complete the grand prix without his drink system working, causing him to suffer physically the longer the afternoon went on. Leclerc noted that he was slightly quicker than the Red Bull in the second half of the race and was chasing a podium, but was unable to close the gap quickly enough to put pressure on Perez.

“A very, very good race,” Leclerc said. “A very boring race on my side, but on the other hand it has been a very positive race for us. The performance was incredible, and it’s great to see that on a track where we did not expect to be that quick.

“So a great surprise. I think all the upgrades are working as we want, and it’s looking good for the future, so hopefully we can keep up that momentum for the rest of the season.

“The performance was just very, very good and I could see Sergio in front of me – only 10 seconds ahead – and actually in the last two stints I think we were a little bit quicker than them, so I was thinking about the podium but we just didn’t quite make it.”

Despite finishing some 25 seconds clear of Daniel Ricciardo, Leclerc is not getting carried away by the margin Ferrari had over McLaren in Austin as the two teams fight over third in the constructors’ championship.

“Let’s be realistic, it’s still very close,” he said. “A race like this can make us think that we are quite far ahead, but it’s not the case. We need to keep working very, very hard. It’s going to be a close fight, but we have only had two or three upgrades this year and those two or three upgrades have made us make a big step forward, and this is looking good for the future.”

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