Charles Leclerc says Ferrari’s race pace was “just not good enough” after recovering from 12th on the grid to finish seventh.
The Ferrari driver qualified second behind pole winner Sergio Perez but was demoted ten places on the grid for exceeding his maximum allocation of power unit components.
After starting on the soft tyres, Leclerc rose from 12th on the grid to eventually finish in seventh place, seven seconds behind team mate Sainz.
“A good first stint, a good start,” Leclerc said. “I think really good management on the softs, which was positive.”
He began to struggle for pace when he closed on team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr.
“On the hard [tyre], I got within a second, one lap, to Carlos with the DRS. Then unfortunately I lost the DRS and then from that moment onwards you are losing too much downforce when you are one second to one-and-a-half and I was just staying there for the rest of the race.”
After pitting for hard tyres just before the Safety Car when Lance Stroll retired, Leclerc was frustrated when his race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros failed to inform him that Lewis Hamilton ahead had pitted under Safety Car.
“Try to push from Safety Car line one for Hamilton, he just pitted,” Marcos Padros radioed to his driver. “Xavi, you need to tell me that before!,” an exasperated Leclerc replied. “Come on!”
“I thought we were clear and we weren’t fighting anybody,” Leclerc explained after the race. “So I was trying to take a bit of a gap to actually push on the tyre.
“But then Xavi told me, I think just before the first corner, that we were fighting Hamilton and so I was too late for being on the limit of the delta.”
After Ferrari struggled with tyre degradation in the opening race weekend in Bahrain, Leclerc said they enjoyed better performance in Saudi Arabia. However he was unhappy with the team’s overall performance.
“There’s much less degradation here. So overall, I think this goes more our way,” he said. “But overall the pace is just not good enough.
“Honestly, there wasn’t much more in the car today. That was the best we could do.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at RaceFans…