“Red Bull are on another planet” – Charles Leclerc’s honest admission after Saudi Arabian GP qualifying | F1
Leclerc missed out on pole by just under 0.2s in Jeddah, which was a remarkable recovery for Ferrari after their difficulties in practice.
However, the Monegasque will start the race from 12th after being hit with a 10-place grid penalty ahead of the weekend due to needing a third control electronics in his Ferrari power unit.
This came after Leclerc retired on Lap 40 of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and his CE was not recoverable.
Speaking after qualifying, Leclerc felt he had extracted the most from his Ferrari.
“I think I put everything in it,” he said. “It was really on the limit.
“But on the other hand, Red Bull are on another planet and we are struggling a little bit. We need to keep pushing – that is what we are doing as a team.
“The race is not going to be easy. We have a 10-place grid penalty, so we will be starting a little bit further back and hopefully, I will come back to the front as quickly as possible.”
Before his retirement in Bahrain, Leclerc ran second before being overtaken by Perez.
While the overall pace of the Ferrari was fairyl close to the Red Bull, tyre wear was a key weakness.
Leclerc believes Ferrari are in a better position with their race pace ahead of Sunday’s grand prix.
“The race pace looked quite good but it is very difficult to compare because in FP2 everybody has a very different programme, so we will see,” Leclerc added.
“But it seemed a little bit better. It is not going to be because I feel like everybody is very close in their race pace.”