Leclerc feeling “a bit more optimistic and a bit more positive” following strong drive to P3 in F1 Imola GP

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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Charles Leclerc came home third at Ferrari’s first home race of the year after a battle for P2 with McLaren’s Lando Norris for most of the race.

The Monegasque believes he extracted the most he possibly could from his SF-24 as Norris pulled away in the closing stages, with the Brit putting big pressure on Max Verstappen at the end.

“I mean of course I want more and I wish we were on the first step of the podium today.”

“However, it’s the best we could do today. I think looking back at the weekend, I’m a bit more optimistic and a bit more positive compared to how I was feeling yesterday.”

Having had a chance to inspect the rear wing of Norris’ McLaren through the early stages of the second stint, as well as the data following the race, the Monegasque driver was able to identify his Ferrari machine was losing time to the cars in front on corner exit.

“Having a closer look to the data after that, we realised that it was only on the launch and that McLaren and Red Bull are doing something special with the launch with their engine and they are gaining all of it just there.”

Leclerc finished the race just under 8 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen.

The Scuderia brought new upgrades to Imola which looked to have unlocked even more performance in the free practice as Leclerc topped both of Friday’s sessions.

Despite this, the 26-year-old was left a bit disappointed as he could only manage P4 on pace in qualifying as McLaren and Verstappen took a big step in Q3.

“Yesterday I was not very happy to see that we were still losing in the first sector, which I thought was again due to maybe tyre preparation.”

Maximising the new upgrades is something Leclerc has said they will need to focus on for his home race next weekend.

“For sure we need to keep on working, try and obviously maximising the, which for now there’s still some to unlock.”

“It’s still relatively new, the upgrade on the car. So there are some things we can do to improve.”