Charles Leclerc makes bold Ferrari statement after dominant Australian GP display


Charles Leclerc in action.© PA Images

Fresh off blitzing the competition on Friday in Melbourne, Charles Leclerc is quietly optimistic that Ferrari here has their best shot yet in F1 2024 at defeating Red Bull.

While the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes went into the new season with the dominant Red Bull team firmly in their sights, Red Bull has put down a daunting marker by delivering comfortable 1-2 finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to start the season. But, could the situation be about to change at the Australian Grand Prix?

Australian GP ‘best shot’ yet at Ferrari F1 2024 victory?

After an extremely tight opening hour of practice, Leclerc rose to prominence in FP2, setting a benchmark of a 1:17.277 which put him four-tenths clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who is chasing a 10th grands prix win in a row this weekend at Albert Park.

Leclerc does believe Red Bull has more pace in the tank yet to be unleashed, though looking ahead to the pole and victory battle to come in Melbourne, he believes this could well be Ferrari’s “best shot” yet this season.

“I will say that we are in a better position than the first two races,” Leclerc told Sky F1. “However, Red Bull weren’t pushing yet.

“So we’ve got to wait and see where their potential is at, but I think they are still ahead. But we might have our best shot this weekend from the beginning of the season.”

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In further encouragement for Ferrari, Leclerc said there are still areas where they can improve as the race weekend progresses, though once more urged caution about building hopes up too greatly, as he believes there are still “surprises” lurking heading into qualifying day.

“It feels good for now,” he said. “We’ve had a positive day from the first laps in FP1 to the end of FP2, so that’s a good start.

“However, we need to keep working very hard because I’m sure that we’ll see some surprises tomorrow and yeah, there’s no reason for us to be a bit in front compared to everyone else tomorrow as well.

“So there’s still margin to improve in some things. Our race run was pretty good, which is encouraging, but let’s keep working.

“For now, we are fast, so we are enjoying it, but we need to wait and see tomorrow if we are as fast.”

Ferrari has a 100 per cent podium appearance record so far in F1 2024, Carlos Sainz having claimed P3 at the Bahrain season-opener, before Leclerc secured that spot in Saudi Arabia.

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