Ferrari make power unit change for Leclerc ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix

By Sports Desk March 05, 2023

Charles Leclerc has taken a new power unit component ahead of the Formula One season opener in Bahrain.

The Ferrari driver, who starts third on the grid behind the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, has a new energy store (ES) on his car.

No penalty will be issued for the Bahrain Grand Prix, though it leaves Ferrari in a challenging position for the remainder of the season as only two such changes are allowed over the course of the campaign.

The F1 season in 2023 will see a record-breaking 23 races on the calendar, Las Vegas having been added to the schedule.

Leclerc looked to be Verstappen's strongest rival last season, winning two of the opening three races, but reliability issues and strategy errors derailed his charge as he finished 146 points behind the Dutchman.

Changes were made at Ferrari ahead of the new season, Frederic Vasseur replacing Mattias Binotto as team principal.

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    Lando Norris clinched his third career pole at the Hungaroring, beating team-mate Oscar Piastri by 0.022 seconds with Verstappen 0.046 back in third.

    Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, meanwhile, crashed out in Q1 and will start the race 16th on the grid, casting further doubt on his future with the team.

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    However, they have seen their sizeable advantage whittled down, with both McLaren and Mercedes pushing hard in recent races.

    Speaking after Saturday's final qualifying session, Verstappen said: "I tried, the whole weekend we have been a little bit behind, and I think that was also the case in qualifying.

    "I tried to make it as close as possible but unfortunately just not enough, a bit difficult to pinpoint why. I would have liked a bit more grip but it's not there at the moment."

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  • Russell bemoans qualifying 'disaster' at Hungarian Grand Prix Russell bemoans qualifying 'disaster' at Hungarian Grand Prix

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    Aston Martin duo Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll finished seventh and eighth respectively, with RB's Daniel Ricciardo finishing a place behind. 

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    Top 10

    1. Lando Norris (McLaren)

    2. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

    3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

    4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

    5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

    6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

    7.  Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)

    8.  Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

    9.  Daniel Ricciardo (RB) 

    10. Yuki Tsunoda (RB)

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