Leclerc slams “not good enough” performance from Ferrari after disappointing race in Jeddah

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After a disappointing race in which the Monegasque was only able to climb to seventh from his starting position of 12th following a 10-place grid drop, Charles Leclerc slammed Ferrari’s lack of pace around Jeddah, claiming that the performance is “not good enough” and urged for improvements in the coming races.

Photo Credits: Scuderia Ferrari

Leclerc qualified his Ferrari SF-23 on the front row for the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP, just over 15 hundredths of a second behind pace-setter Sergio Perez, and started 12th after serving his 10-place grid drop for using a third Control Electronics (CE) – one more than the permitted allocation for the season – after his DNF in the Bahrain GP forced the team to change the component.

Despite showing strong pace in the early stages of the race, Leclerc’s progress stalled as he reached the top six, and an unlucky timing with the safety car for Lance Stroll’s stricken Aston Martin, just after he’d made his first stop, meant he wasn’t able to go further than a lowly seventh place finish, 43 seconds behind race winner Sergio Perez and eight seconds behind his team-mate Carlos Sainz, who finished sixth.

Speaking to ViaPlay after the race, Leclerc explained that the team maximised what was possible for the day, but did not hide his frustration at the lack of ultimate pace from his SF-23 relative to its main rivals, stating that the performance is just “not good enough” at the moment:

“No, honestly there wasn’t anything more to achieve,” he said. “The performance is not good enough.

“On the soft [tyres], I think I had a really good run in the first [stint], and then we’ve been unlucky with the safety car – and then I was basically stuck within a second and a half of Carlos [Sainz].

“It’s not like there was much more in the car anyway. We had more or less a similar pace, but it was impossible for me to get within DRS [range].

“At the end, I just brought the car home, which was the best thing to do anyway.

“We need to work to improve the pace, we are too far away.”

When asked about Mercedes’ relatively strong race performance in Jeddah, Leclerc said he couldn’t fully assess if they were out of reach due to struggling in the dirty air coming off the back of his team-mate’s car, but admitted that there wasn’t “much more anyway”:

“I don’t know if they were out of reach,” he said when Sky Sports asked about Mercedes. “The thing is, when I got within a second and a half to Carlos, it was very difficult to get any closer than that, the pace difference wasn’t big enough.

“I did a small mistake when I was within DRS, and then I lost it and that was it, I just stayed there.”

The Monegasque reckons Ferrari has to improve all areas of its SF-23 if it is to put up a fight for the 2023 world championship, pointing out that Red Bull has currently a car which works better in both cornering and straights:

“A lot, a lot [of work]. [In a] straight line [Red Bull] are quicker, and [in the] corners they are quicker, so everything.”