Jul 28, 2023 at 7:40 PMUpdate: 5 hours ago
Charles Leclerc does not think he can compete for victory at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday. The Monegask finished second in qualifying, but is allowed to start the race from pole due to Max Verstappen’s grid penalty.
“I’m pretty happy,” said a relaxed Leclerc at Friday’s press conference. “I worked a lot to drive better in these conditions because I was struggling in Barcelona for example. It felt much more positive today, only Q3 could have been a bit better. But I don’t think pole would have been possible.”
The 25-year-old Leclerc was almost nine tenths short on the semi-wet track in Spa to keep Verstappen from pole. Behind the Ferrari driver, Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez finished third. Verstappen has to start Sunday’s race in sixth due to his grid penalty.
Leclerc emphasized that he has adapted his driving style to perform better in changing conditions. “It seems to go better with this different approach. It’s just small adjustments, but that makes the difference. I can also change the car better between corners. I immediately got more confidence and the lap times went down too.”
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‘Profit is too optimistic’
Despite his pole, Leclerc does not think he has a real chance of winning. “With two super-fast Red Bulls right behind me, that gives little hope for victory,” the Ferrari driver continued.
“It will be difficult to keep Max and ‘Checo’ behind me, winning is in principle a bit too optimistic. But if the opportunity arises, of course I want to seize it. We go into the race with a big question mark, because we have no long runs done. For everyone it is a question mark how the tires will hold up.”
The Grand Prix of Belgium starts on Sunday at 3 p.m. Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps is all about the sprint race. It will start at 4:30 PM. Qualifying for the sprint race is at noon.