Melbourne: Charles Leclerc cautioned on Thursday against expecting any “miracles” from Ferrari at the Australian Grand Prix, in stark contrast to last year when he was the runaway winner.
The 25-year-old clocked a commanding victory at Albert Park in 2022, leading from start to finish, having also won the season opener at Bahrain to be the early championship leader.
But it is a different scenario this time as Ferrari struggle with power and reliability issues.
“Yeah, good memories, but looking at this year we are not coming into this race in the same situation as we were last year,” Leclerc admitted.
“I think clearly our performance is not as good as last year but we are working massively to try and come back to the front,” he continued.
“I don’t think there will be any miracles for this weekend but after that we’ve got three weeks’ break (before Azerbaijan) and we will try to use it in the best way possible in order to bring upgrades as quickly as possible on the car.”
Ferrari were not only comprehensively beaten by both Red Bulls in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago, but also outpaced by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and both Mercedes.
It left Leclerc — who started with a 10-place grid penalty — and teammate Carlos Sainz disappointed.
While Ferrari have been competitive in qualifying, they have been unable to convert the form to race day, an issue that has frustrated Leclerc.
“I think that in qualifying we’ve been quite good since the beginning of the season. Where we need to focus on is the race, where our car is extremely ‘peaky’,” he said.
“When all the conditions are right, we seem to be able to extract the performance out of our package.
“But whenever the conditions are changing a little bit with a heavier car, when you see a little bit more the limitations of the car, that’s where you struggle, so we are trying to focus on that.
“I do believe we will be quite close in qualifying (in Melbourne). I hope so, but I think the picture in the race will be quite similar (to previous grands prix,” he added.