Charles Leclerc identifies key to beating “unhappy” Max Verstappen in Miami

Charles Leclerc has explained how he might be able to topple Max Verstappen in Miami.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari in qualifying parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 6, Miami Grand Prix, Miami,
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari in qualifying parc ferme. Formula 1 World…

Charles Leclerc is hoping he can put Max Verstappen “under pressure” during the Miami Grand Prix after the Red Bull driver complained about the handling of his F1 car.

Leclerc will once again start alongside the Red Bull driver on the front row of the grid.

The Monegasque finished just over three seconds behind Verstappen in the shorter sprint race on Saturday morning.

With Verstappen “unhappy” with the handling of his RB20 in Miami, Leclerc has his eyes on the reigning world champion.

“He’s very strong. This morning we were close. This morning he was saying he wasn’t happy with the car so let’s see how happy he is with the car tomorrow.

“Hopefully he will still be unhappy and we put him under pressure.

“We did some steps forward this morning, they did too. If we get the DRS after the first lap I think we can maybe stay with him.”

Leclerc believes staying within DRS range of Verstappen will be crucial to have any chance of challenging him for the victory.

Leclerc added: "Yeah this and keeping the DRS, if we don't get past by turn one," explained Leclerc.

"DRS is super powerful here and if we lose it after the first lap then it's always difficult to come back within DRS, we must not lose it.

"But first of all, there will be the start, this morning we had a good one and tomorrow I will try to have an even better one."

After struggling for qualifying form in 2024, Leclerc appeared to be back to his very best in Miami.

He’s qualified second in both sessions, and that was after missing the majority of FP1 following a clumsy spin.

Leclerc was pleased with his recovery despite track conditions in Miami making it challenging for the drivers.

“I am happy. It’s been not the ideal start of the weekend,” he explained. “As I said, especially with such a small mistake. It had big consequences on that first free practice and only one lap wasn’t ideal. We had a good weekend after that. That’s good. Today was positive.

“Second this morning, second this afternoon. It was extremely tricky, not just for us but everybody. That second sector was really difficult to understand, very difficult to expect what kind of grip we will get into Turn 11. It made it very difficult to put the lap together.”

Read More