Charles Leclerc insists that Ferrari must “not forget” where they have come from in the aftermath of Formula 1’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The Max Verstappen Red Bull package was as dominant as it has been in 2022 at Spa in August, with the Dutch driver claiming pole by over half-a-second.
He then started 14th due to engine penalties, but by Lap 12 was leading for the first time and then did not lose the lead after Lap 18, cruising to a comfortable victory.
As for Ferrari, they were humbled in the race, as Carlos Sainz Jr slipped from pole to third with Leclerc only managing sixth after a late fastest lap pitstop gamble backfired and he was caught speeding in the pitlane.
The Red Bull RB18 was ideally suited to the demands of the Spa track, with good straight line speed and downforce for the twisty middle sector of the lap.
Leclerc bounced back to nab a third at Zandvoort and was second in Italy – having another strategy gamble backfire as Ferrari opted for a two-stop.
Despite Verstappen seeming set for a second world title, Leclerc believes Ferrari must still be optimistic at its recovery.
“Second is nice, but I think we cannot also forget how far we’ve come since Spa,” Leclerc explained after bagging his first back-to-back podiums since the Saudi Arabian and Australian Grands Prix – rounds two and three of the season.
“That was a disaster for us, six or seven tenths off the pace. [At Monza] we were much slower.
“The first stint was really positive, then we stopped under the Virtual Safety Car [for Sebastian Vettel stopping on track].
“It was unfortunate as the Virtual Safety Car ended in the pitlane – so we didn’t really get the benefit of stopping at that moment.
“Then we had to do a very long stint on Mediums.
“It is a good step forward, compared to Spa, but it doesn’t make me any happier.”
Over the course of the 2022 season, Ferrari has seemed to have held the advantage on higher downforce tracks, with Red Bull preferring straight-line speed.
Leclerc also highlighted the progress made by the Scuderia at Monza – a place he won at in 2019.
“This truck is not exactly for our car, I mean to say that we have expected to struggle in comparison to Red Bull,” he explained.
“We were fairly competitive and we did a good step forward compared to Spa so this is good.”