Leclerc assesses win chances after challenging qualifying

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Charles Leclerc has conceded that clinching the Australian Grand Prix victory will be difficult following a challenging qualifying session.

The Ferrari driver ended the session in fifth place having opted to abort his final Q3 attempt.

Leclerc was tipped as a key challenger for pole position in Melbourne after topping the second and third practice sessions.

Instead, it was teammate Carlos Sainz who was Max Verstappen’s closest challenger, with the Spaniard bagging a spot on the first row alongside the three-time World Champion.

“This session to be honest, I think [the problems] started from much earlier in the weekend,” Leclerc told media including RacingNews365.

“[In] FP3 already I felt like it was going away a little bit from me, but I was confident that it would come back, the feeling, in qualifying as is normally the case whenever we have a strange feeling in FP3.

“You put on new tyres in qualifying, low fuel and everything comes alive again – today wasn’t the case.

“I struggled quite a lot with the front tyres, until the last run in Q3 where I went very aggressive with a front wing to try something and it went the other way.

“All in all, it hasn’t been a clean day for me.”

Leclerc downplays win chances

Red Bull has deployed a commanding lead over the competition at the start of the new season with Verstappen cruising to victory at the opening two rounds.

Ferrari has secured a duo of podiums with Sainz and Leclerc finishing third in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia respectively.

As he awaits his first win in almost two years, Leclerc admitted that recovering to the front of the field will be a tall task.

“I think realistically, it’s going to be difficult to target the win because Max is going to be too strong,” he said/

“Checo [Perez] might be a target. But they [Red Bull] seem to strong once again, because they have more margin than what we initially thought they had [during practice].

“But all in all, my target is obviously to try and come back and be on the podium. And if that’s beating Checo, then we’ll try and do that.”

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