Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc scored a third pole position in the 2022 Formula One season by topping qualifying on Saturday in Miami ahead of his Maranello team-mate Carlos Sainz, with title-rival Max Verstappen ending up third after his final Q3 lap went wrong.
The Red Bull/Ferrari duel has swung across the opening four races of the championship, with Red Bull’s better end-of-straight speed proving to be decisive in Verstappen’s Jeddah win, as Ferrari decided to use a higher downforce package in anticipation of bad tyre wear which never came.
In Saudi Arabia, Max Verstappen was able to make a crucial DRS pass, while Red Bull’s slippery aerodynamic profile also made it tough for the Ferrari driver to put pressure on Sergio Perez during the middle phase of the Emilia Romagna GP in Italy.
Scuderia Ferrari has brought at a reprofiled rear wing to Miami with the goal of reducing drag it has carried throughout the opening rounds of the 2022 F1 championship, but Charles Leclerc is still away he will have a difficult task of trying to keep the lead ahead of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez given the long straights around the Miami Gardens circuit.
“If they are close to us then it’s going to be very difficult,” he said in the post-qualifying press conference. But we’ve got this advantage in the corners, which hopefully [means] they will be too far [behind] to then have an opportunity of overtaking us on the straights. Only time will tell and we’ll only see that [in the race]. But the pace of the car is quite strong, so we’ll focus on ourselves and see where we are.” – he explained.
When asked how much confidence he had in the Ferrari F1-75 package taking in consideration the results he has secured in it so far in 2022, Charles Leclerc added: “A lot. It is a very strong package that we have – it works in more or less every conditions since the beginning of the season. So, that is a good sign for the future. But, as I’ve said many times, I think the upgrades this year will be very important.” – he continued.
Of the Miami upgrade that Ferrari says has “depowered” its rear wing drag level in the official FIA document detailing car changes throughout the field, Charles Leclerc said it “went in the right direction” and aded that “hopefully we’ll have some more during the season to stay on top”.
The Monegasque driver also confirmed that having his Maranello team-mate Carlos Sainz next to him on the front row for the race start in Miami was “definitely better” for Ferrari’s chances of defeating Red Bull. Both cars are very competitive,” he continued. “So, Carlos and I are very competitive. It’s great for the team and we’ll push to try and finish in the same positions [in the race]”. – Charles Leclerc continued.
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