Fourth on the starting grid and fourth at the finish of the Portuguese Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc is pleased to have confirmed the recent progress of Ferrari. Admittedly, the 30 seconds which separate him from the third step of the podium at the finish bear witness to the work that remains to be done, but the Monegasque clearly enjoyed his entire weekend at Portimão. Despite the complicated first laps, he is especially happy to have achieved this result without benefiting from special circumstances.
"There was no luck today, it was just our overall level of performance, so it's good for the confidence of the team, for my confidence too", he emphasizes at the microphone of Canal +. "We've been doing very well in qualifying for a few weekends, but in the race we were struggling a lot. Today, finally, we have a race where we were fast. The start of the race was very, very complicated, but after that we caught up well, we were very fast throughout the race, so I'm very happy. "
However, it was necessary to negotiate the first delicate laps, when a little drizzle came to disrupt the debates just after the lights were out, but Leclerc overcame the obstacle, notably resuming the two McLarens a few loops later to settle permanently. in its place in this race.
"I was in great difficulty [at the start]", he admits before describing a rather funny scene: "I was also very disturbed because I asked on the radio if it was raining and they told me that it was absolutely not raining, while I saw on the track that it was raining. for a moment, I thought there was a car in front of me losing water or something. Finally, after I realized that it was really raining! It was a bit of a hassle the first laps but once in the rhythm, it was much better. "
This fourth place also validates the approach recently adopted by the Scuderia, which had not scored so many points since the first meeting at Silverstone in August.
"It was the best Ferrari of the season", insists Leclerc at the microphone of Sky Italia. "We were hoping to have some answers and today we got them, so I'm very happy and proud of the work the team has done. It's very encouraging to see the car progressing, we are working in the right direction. fans would like Ferrari to bring a new car that is fighting for victory, but that won't. We've decided to take a step-by-step approach and it works. We have to keep going like this, I'm satisfied. "
Vettel annoyed by the lack of consistency
To the 12 units registered this Sunday by Leclerc is added the small point gleaned by Sebastian Vettel. Tenth at the finish after starting 15th, the quadruple World Champion remains frustrated by the level he displays behind the wheel of the SF1000.
"I am not satisfied with this single point", deplores the German. "I'm not here to score a point. But I struggled in the first few laps to heat up the tires. The car was very difficult to drive throughout the race. I was always losing grip. suddenly. It was very difficult to be confident. That's why the rhythm wasn't really there. There were ups and downs, it was not regular. Consistency is what I'm missing. I don't know if I should say anything else, better than not. I've tried everything. "