Ferrari News – Leclerc relishes “very tight” Ferrari-McLaren fight for third
Charles Leclerc believes there is nothing between Ferrari and old adversary McLaren as both make steps towards a return to the top of F1.
After both teams experienced lean spells at points across the last five years, the historic rivals were locked in a battle for the final podium position at Imola last weekend with Lando Norris edging Leclerc out.
The race for third in the constructors’ championship is seemingly between the two teams after the opening two rounds of the season but Leclerc is struggling to find anything to separate the teams.
“I think it is very tight. I think, honestly, it is very difficult to pick,” said Leclerc.
“The McLaren has its strengths and its weaknesses and what makes it a really nice fight is that we are quick in different places on the track and it makes it a very fun battle.
“It looked like this weekend Lando did a very good job of exploiting the whole car potential. He was on it the whole weekend, especially from Saturday onwards, and he did a good job race.”
Leclerc was ahead of Norris at the restart following the red flag period caused by Valtteri Bottas and George Russell’s incident mid-race, but wheelspin on medium tyres allowed the soft-tyre clad McLaren could make the jump into Tamburello.
Whilst Leclerc believes the decision to take softs was the reason Norris remained in his clutches, the Monegasque conceded McLaren had the measure of the Scuderia.
“They were, in my opinion, on a slower tyre on the soft,” he added. “At the end of the stint you could see they were graining a little bit and that is why we were behind him, pushing him, but I think if he had of been on the medium it would have been very difficult to stay in his DRS because he was very quick all weekend.
“Overall, it was very tight. Maybe they had a bit the upper hand this weekend, or a tiny bit the last two weekends, but as soon as we do a very good weekend and we go to a track that maybe favours us a bit I think we can be ahead.”