Charles Leclerc: Red Bull and McLaren 'doing something weird’ to boost top speed

"They are doing something weird with the energy, engine-wise"

1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20, 2nd place Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL38 and 3rd place Charles
1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20, 2nd place Lando…

Charles Leclerc has claimed Ferrari’s F1 rivals Red Bull and McLaren are “doing something weird” in order to boost their straight-line speed.

The Monegasque finished third in his upgraded Ferrari behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

After the race, Leclerc highlighted that Ferrari were losing too much time compared to their rivals and suspects Red Bull and McLaren have found a technique to get more performance from their engines.

“I think our race pace is very, very strong,” he told Sky. “I’m more optimistic than yesterday looking back at the qualifying because this is where I think we are lacking on a weekend like this.

“What makes me optimistic is that if I look back at the data, I thought we were losing in turn two, three, four, which would have been tyre related again. But it wasn’t the case.

“We lost everything in the straights, and they are doing something weird with the energy, engine-wise, McLaren and Red Bull.

“We will look into that. Once we fix that, we’ve got a real shot of going back onto the top step of the podium.”

Leclerc finished nearly eight seconds behind Norris and Verstappen by the end of the 63-lap race.

Asked if he felt catching Norris for second was ever on the cards, Leclerc replied: “Honestly, I don’t think so.

“We had to cover for Oscar on the first stint. There’s no way we could afford to lose track position on a track like this.

“So we had to stop Oscar. He was pushing hard on the first laps with the hard. It made it difficult for me to manage tyres in the first part of the hard tyres.

“Then, I saw I was coming back on Lando. I thought I could put him under pressure. But as soon as I got closer, they started to push. That was it. I never saw Lando again.

“They were strong but I really believe today was all about track position.”

Read More