F1: Spanish Grand Prix preview
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Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has insisted he is not concerned about Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s recent improvement, despite seeing his lead cut to 19 points.
The 24-year-old has not claimed a win in either of his last two outings due to the Dutchman’s superior pace, as Verstappen moved past Leclerc early in Miami and did not look back to take the chequered flag. Despite the recent upturn in his competitor’s form, Leclerc is not worried about his lead.
When asked if had started getting worried, Leclerc told Sky Sports: “No. Ferrari know it’s not the time to be worried but of course we have seen that they have brought small upgrades at the time that did the difference, at the races they get stronger so we have to push at the maximum.
“Worried is not the word, I think we are aware of how close they are getting in terms of the Championship, which means they are in front on track, which is not what we like to see but on the other hand let’s stay focused on ourselves, we are pushing 100 per cent and I don’t think being worried will help us gain any more out of it.”
When asked what Ferrari are hoping to see in Barcelona, Leclerc joked: “A one-two! I am pretty sure it is going in the right direction for sure. How much I don’t know, and I don’t know what Red Bull are going to bring this weekend. So it will depend on how much they are gaining and how much we are gaining but I hope that it will be advantage to us a little bit now.”
In response to Carlos Sainz’s fears for the long-term health of Formula One drivers because of the bouncing they are subjected to on track, Leclerc said that they are in a much better position than drivers of the past.
He added: “Sure it is not the most comfortable of cars to drive, but I am also probably not the best person to speak about it because I am not sensitive at all for kerb riding, it doesn’t disturb me for whatever reason but I guess it’s a good thing with those cars. It’s not a problem for me.”
Ferrari could be set for a much-improved showing throughout this weekend in Spain, though, with Ferrari expecting to gain up to four-tenths of a second per lap as a result of their new and improved package, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Leclerc, speaking ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, has admitted he will now think twice about driving any more classic F1 cars before the end of the season after crashing Niki Lauda’s Ferrari in Monaco.
After the incident, Leclerc said: “To be honest, before that I think all the checks that had to be done was done. Obviously, there was a shakedown of this car the Thursday before and yeah, the failure that happened was on a screw of the brake pads and it’s impossible to know. So fighting for a championship like this, I will think twice about doing it again in the future.”
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