The period of “Defense and counterattack”, for Ferrari, should have started from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. But in Baku the Reds surprised, and not a little. Charles Leclerc signed an unexpected pole position, throwing away all the predictions of the eve. Including, his.
In the race, then, the Reds showed the limits that were and are very clear at the GeS in Maranello. The pace of the SF21s of Leclerc and Sainz has returned to tread the forecasts, while bringing home a haul of points that allow the Prancing Horse to hoist itself into third place in the Constructors’ World Championship, overtaking McLaren.
On the eve of the French Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc admitted that he was still embarrassed by the erroneous predictions related to the previous F1 round, in Azerbaijan, but also pleasantly surprised by the growth of Ferrari in a transitional season towards 2022, the year of technical revolution.
“In Baku I felt very stupid after saying that we would go back to fighting with McLarens and then I signed the pole! It was a great surprise to be so competitive in qualifying”, admitted the Monegasque candidly in the drivers press conference on Thursday. at Paul Ricard, home of the French GP.
“In the race we have returned to performances more in line with our expectations. Now, however, I think that our performances will return to being more normal, on a normal track, which is therefore not a citizen. On tracks like these, where there are more average curves. speed, we struggle more. I think things here at Paul Ricard may be more like in the race in Baku. But we hope he can be wrong as I did in Baku and be faster than we expect. “
Charles dwelt on the difficulties of the SF21s, the ones that should bring the Reds back to fight only the positions behind Red Bull and Mercedes, like the McLarens of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
“I would say that where we miss a bit at the moment are the medium speed corners. But then it’s an overall package, in the end. We need to improve a little everywhere, that’s what we’re doing at the moment, small steps after small steps, but always in the right direction, and we hope that soon we will be back to fight regularly for the top positions. “
A question could not be missing on the Pirelli report linked to the punctures suffered by Verstappen and Stroll at the Azerbaijan GP. This argument has held ground over the last two weeks and not even the official report drawn up and released by the Milanese company has appeased the most critics (including Verstappen).
“First of all, I think that safety should always be the most important thing in Formula 1 for us drivers, for everyone. And yes, this is always the most important thing, but it is also the duty of the team to respect everything that is. been put in place, whether that’s the case or not, I don’t know, and that’s the FIA’s job to find out. I think it’s always good to have extra controls in case some teams try to play with the tires. But I think that it is also the responsibility of the team to make sure that everything is safe for the drivers to drive the cars. “
To conclude, Leclerc admitted that Paul Ricard, for him, will not be a track like any other. Indeed, it will be almost like a second home race after the Monaco Grand Prix held in late May in the Principality.
“I feel this almost a home race. I started karting just 45 minutes from here. I still remember exactly when I did these first laps, where I fell in love with racing. So it’s special to be here. There will be some people too. in the stands which will be nice to see. So yeah, I’m looking forward to this weekend. “