Charles Leclerc says Ferrari has been surprised by how competitive it is at the Italian Grand Prix after securing pole position for the team’s home race.
Ferrari struggled at the Belgian Grand Prix, with Red Bull enjoying a huge advantage over the field at Spa-Francorchamps, and Monza tends to have a similar pecking order. However, Ferrari set the pace on Friday and carried that through for Leclerc to secure pole on Saturday, beating Max Verstappen who has a grid penalty.
“It feels really, really good,” Leclerc said. “We still need to finalize this tomorrow, otherwise it’s pointless to do the pole on Saturday; but it is a very good surprise today. Considering where we come from, especially in Spa, we were not expecting to fight for pole here, so it’s a very good surprise. At home there’s a special motivation for this weekend and it’s great that we managed to do a good job today.
“FP1 and FP2 we tested a lot of things across both cars with Carlos (Sainz), a lot of different things, and we found different directions which were interesting. We were really struggling a lot in Spa and we found some pace, so it’s good — it shows that we worked in the right direction and I hope that tomorrow we can show that in the race also.”
Ferrari pole 🤝 Monza
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Leclerc believes the Ferrari pace carries through to its high fuel load performance, predicting a win is on the cards if he has a clean opening part of the race and the team makes no mistakes.
“A good start as always, and then we’ll see. I think the race pace is strong, the feeling is really, really good, so whatever happens in the first lap I still think we have the pace to win this race. So we’ll try to put everything together, no mistakes during the race, and I think we can have a good Sunday.
“Overall after each mistake we learned from them and we tried to be better as a team. It’s not because we’re here in Monza that it’s more important than other races to not do any mistakes. We need to become a team that does not make mistakes wherever we go.
“Yes, it is a special weekend for us but the target does not change. We just need to have a clean race and a good race and we will be targeting that.”