Charles Leclerc delivers Ferrari reality check after Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

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Charles Leclerc says finishing in the top three is not realistic at the moment for Ferrari, after setting the fourth fastest time in qualifying ahead of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix tomorrow.

Charles Leclerc says finishing in the top three is not realistic at the moment for Ferrari, after setting the fourth fastest time in qualifying ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix tomorrow.

Leclerc impressed in the scarlet Ferrari and he will start behind the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

Ferrari will look to put one of their worst seasons in 40 years behind them.

Leclerc out-qualified his new team-mate Carlos Sainz Jnr, and after a relatively quiet but steady start to the season, he admitted he’s had a hard time getting to grips with the car.

“I don’t know it looked from the outside, but I’ve been massively struggling this weekend,” said Leclerc speaking to Sky Sports F1.

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“FP2, FP3, struggling with the car. Over-driving a little bit, not driving very well in general, so I knew inside of me I could make a good lap, but until you do it, you never really know if you can.

“Then arrived in quali, the feeling was good straight from the beginning, I picked up the pace and I managed to do that lap in Q3 which I’m very happy with.”

Leclerc starts the race ahead of Pierre Gasly, who has impressed in his rapid AlphaTauri throughout the whole weekend so far.

And Monegasque believes he can bring the fight to those around them.

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“Yes, I think so, but I have to say that seeing them yesterday I’m quite impressed by AlphaTauri, they were very, very quick on the race pace yesterday and they are also starting on mediums tomorrow, so it’s going to be tricky,” he said.

“Our goal is to obviously keep our position. I think the top three realistically is not reachable yet, but yeah, fourth and I will be satisfied.”

Ferrari are looking to bounce back from a torrid 2020 season, and have made various changes to the car, including a completely new power unit, revised aerodynamics, and changes to the rear of the car.

And Leclerc reassured Ferrari fans a change was on the horizon.

“I think we just have a much stronger car, whether it’s in the balance, as I was saying on Friday,” he explained.

“I think the car is a lot more easier to drive compared to last year, then we have a bit more power.

“It’s still early days, it feels like we’ve taken a significant step considering the restrictions of the FIA on the development of the car.

“I think we should be very satisfied with the work we have done from last year to this year.

“It’s only the first quali, so keep our feet on the ground and keeping working very hard.”

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