Charles Leclerc conceded he simply wasn’t fast enough to maintain third place at the Tuscan Grand Prix as he dropped down to eighth come the Formula 1 chequered flag.

Leclerc enjoyed a strong start to Ferrari’s 1000th grand prix, moving ahead of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon on the opening lap for third place.

Once the initial Safety Car and red flag periods were over, Leclerc still maintained third but quickly dropped behind a number of Ferrari’s midfield rivals.

The Monegasque driver eventually classified in eighth place, benefitting from Kimi Raikkonen’s time penalty for cutting the pit lane entry.

Reflecting on his race, Leclerc admitted the Ferrari car was “just slow” at Mugello.

“We were just slow,” Leclerc said. “There’s not much more to add. We didn’t have the pace. I put myself in the best position possible, the two Mercs that were going away so I had free air, but just struggling so much with the car.

Leclerc says Ferrari needs to understand why it is so inconsistent as it performed well in qualifying, but not in the race whereas in previous races it has been the complete opposite.

“We need to work honestly and try to understand because some races were are not very competitive in quali but are then are very competitive in the race which has been the case at the beginning of the season, now we seem to have done a good job in quali but struggling massively with the car in the race, it is a difficult moment.”

Sebastian Vettel recovered to finish tenth having picked up damage on the opening lap of the race.

Like Leclerc, he was confused by Ferrari’s lack of pace performance.

“Obviously we were fighting hard and trying everything to get the points,” Vettel added. “Tight at the end with Kimi - we did everything we could. We weren’t quick enough. Why? Is always a good question and a difficult one to answer, there’s more than one reason.

“Obviously we know that our car is not quick enough but today we would have expected to have a better race pace so we need to have a look.”