Leclerc admits Red Bull secret

Charles Leclerc’s painful observation after Bahrain – After the first race of the 2023 Formula 1 season, Charles Leclerc was able to see the gap in performance between Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of race pace. Astonished, the Ferrari driver admits that Red Bull are in another league having been secretly ‘sandbagging’ up until the race day.

Monegasque Charles Leclerc looked very worried on Sunday evening in Bahrain after seeing the real gulf between Red Bull and Ferrari in terms of race pace.

 

Last weekend in Bahrain, Charles Leclerc started from third on the grid for the first round of the 2023 World Championship and, after a great start that saw him beat Sergio Perez to the punch before the first corner, the Monegasque found himself in second place chasing the other Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

 

 

Red Bull a second a lap faster

However, despite his best efforts, the Ferrari driver soon found that Max Verstappen’s lead was growing and the gap between him and the reigning world champion’s Red Bull was increasing by a second a lap, while Sergio Perez was just as quick to catch up and eventually regain second place.

Clinging to third place and a potential podium finish as his only consolation prize, Leclerc finally retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday when an electrical problem on lap 42 sounded the death knell for him in the first race of the year. A familiar tale from last year appears set to continue for Ferrari.

 

 

Red Bull sandbagging

Speaking to Sky Sports, Charles Leclerc expressed his concern about the pace of the two Red Bull drivers in Bahrain on Sunday. Indeed the way he describes the weekend, it appears that Red Bull were indeed sandbagging as this website alluded to before Sunday’s race.

“We knew that we were slower in terms of race pace, and we are talking about Red Bull because our objective is to beat them,” said the Monegasque on Sunday evening in Bahrain after his retirement.

 

“In terms of performance this week, we were not there with the race pace. We need to improve, we are too far behind.”

“We have never seen anything like this. A car that is with us in practice [two tenths apart between Red Bull and Ferrari in qualifying on Saturday], and then in the race it puts a second per lap on us.”

“It’s a different class of car! We have to work and find something, otherwise we will struggle,” added the Ferrari driver.

After the Bahrain Grand Prix, Ferrari is fourth in the constructors’ championship, 31 points behind current championship leader Red Bull.

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