Why Leclerc is ‘pessimistic’ about Ferrari's Bahrain F1 win chances

Charles Leclerc says he is “pessimistic” about Ferrari’s chances of starting the 2022 Formula 1 season with victory at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari.
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari.
© xpbimages.com

Ferrari has been tipped by many in the paddock as being the early favourites to win the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix after the Italian outfit enjoyed a pair of strong pre-season tests at Barcelona and Bahrain. 

Leclerc, who scored his maiden F1 pole position in Bahrain, is remaining grounded about Ferrari’s chances of claiming its first win in nearly three years and a first victory at a season opener since 2018. 

“I’m maybe a bit more pessimistic,” Leclerc replied when asked how confident he feels about fighting for the win in Bahrain. 

“I feel we are still a bit behind Red Bull. I don’t think we are speaking about a second like last year or even more the year before, so I feel it is going to be closer for sure and this is already a good sign. But I still think they are the favourites. 

“So we need to try and work as much as possible tomorrow to try and maximise the day and be as ready as possible for Saturday and hopefully we’ll be fighting for the win. But I still see ourselves being behind Red Bull for now.”

Leclerc is adamant that Red Bull and Mercedes remain the teams to beat going into F1’s new era. 

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75.
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75.
© xpbimages.com

“I think Red Bull are, from what they’ve shown,” he added. “But I also think that Mercedes didn’t show their full potential. 

“They’ve done a few laps here and there that were good once they were putting it together but they didn’t really put anything together to be honest. 

“I think there is still a lot more to come from Mercedes and I think these will still be the two teams to beat this year.” 

However, Leclerc does believe that Ferrari goes into the first race with a better understanding of its 2022 F1 car compared to any other team after opting not to bring updates to the second test, unlike Red Bull and Mercedes. 

That development decision enabled Ferrari to optimise the package it originally brought to Barcelona, instead of trying to gain knowledge of a revised package. 

“I think only the first race will tell us whether our approach was the best one, but I feel confident because I feel like the knowledge we have of our car, probably nobody in the paddock has the same knowledge of their car because they’ve been changing it,” he explained. 

“But on the other hand obviously Red Bull did a massive step on the last day with the upgrades. I was very surprised to see the Mercedes at the beginning of testing here with a very, very different concept to everyone. 

“Even though all the concerts are different, they were quite extreme. It’s gong to be very interesting to see which one in qualifying works better. But I’m happy with our approach and the fact that we know very well our package.” 

Read More