Charles Leclerc reveals the ‘jump’ in understanding that has boosted Ferrari’s F1 fortunes

Lando Norris loves the Hamilton and Verstappen drama

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Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari have made a “jump” in their understanding of performances in recent years as the team have once again become a force in F1. The Monegasque currently tops the Drivers’ Championship standings after winning two of the first three Grands Prix of the season.

Ferrari moved well ahead of their F1 rivals at the turn of the century as they won a staggering eight Constructors’ Championships between 1999 and 2008. But the Scuderia eventually fell away as they were toppled by Red Bull and Mercedes.

Ferrari had fallen down the grid in recent years but have returned to the top of the standings in the early stages of the new season courtesy of Leclerc’s fine performances. The Scuderia appear to have crafted a championship-winning car over the winter after teams were forced to redesign their vehicles in the wake of a whole host of regulation changes.

But Leclerc believes Ferrari’s impressive early showings have been years in the making. “Since the last two years, I’ve really seen a jump in the way we’ve analysed every weekend, in the way we have identified also our weaknesses and how quick we were to react to try and get better in the places where we were struggling,” the 24-year-old said ahead of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

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“So yeah, I am confident that the team can do a great job with development this year. To keep up with Red Bull in terms of development is going to be difficult – but it’s the same team that did this car that will work on the development for this year’s car. So I am confident.

“There is no reason for us to be on the backfoot because we’ve done a great job – or the guys at Maranello have done a great job – building up this car for this year. There are some developments coming and I’m confident that it will go in the right direction. So yeah, I wouldn’t focus too much on the others. I think we need to focus on ourselves.”

Leclerc stormed to victory at the season-opener in Bahrain last month as he finished ahead of Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. The ace then lost out to Red Bull star Max Verstappen at the second Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, before claiming his second win of the season in Australia last time out.

Those performances have put Leclerc 34 points clear at the top of the season leaderboard. And the talented driver will be looking to extend his advantage this weekend when the F1 season resumes in Italy.

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