Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari have what it takes to beat Red Bull to the F1 championship this year.

Leclerc won at Monaco for the first time in his career last time out, and a double podium for Ferrari in that race means they are just 24 points behind Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.

Red Bull have won the constructors' title for the last three years in a row, but this year they could be in a tough battle with Ferrari and McLaren.

Speaking before the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend, Leclerc says he has faith that Ferrari mount a good challenge against Red Bull.

"I have to believe it [that Red Bull are beatable], and I believe in it," Leclerc told Sky Sports F1.

"However, let's say that I think the last two races have been not the tracks that favour Red Bull or show their strengths. I don't think that this one is a track that will show their strength either, so it might be an opportunity again for us.

"From Barcelona [the race after Montreal] onwards, I think we will see back the Red Bull that we have seen at the beginning of the year, which, if this is the case, might be more difficult to beat.

"But my hopes remain high. We still have some things that we want to bring to the car, and if that is enough to close the gap, then that's great. And we'll put them under more pressure.

"When you are under a bit more pressure, hopefully, we can push them into more mistakes and take our chances. For now, I don't feel like we are quite there yet. But looking at this weekend, I feel like it can be an opportunity."

Lando Norris, who won the Miami Grand Prix, has tipped Ferrari as the favourites to win in Canada, while Max Verstappen also thinks it will be another tough race after finishing in his lowest position for 18 months in Monaco.

Leclerc, however, is not fazed by those predictions.

"They always say that! Whether it's Helmut [Marko] one weekend, Lando the other," he added.

"Everyone doesn't want to hear they are the favourites, so you are never going to hear me say we are the favourites and same with them.

"I think the reality is we are so closely matched between three teams, that it will be down to the ones who do the better job, as well as the rain will be here, and we haven't really driven here with these cars yet in the rain."

Charles Leclerc says he has fulfilled his dreams after winning the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time.

After claiming pole for the third time on home soil, Leclerc was able to hold onto first and finish on the Monaco podium for the first time.

Despite an early red flag forcing a restart, the Monegasque was in control throughout, finishing seven seconds ahead of second-place Oscar Piastri.

It is Leclerc's first win of 2024, and Ferrari's second of the season after Carlos Sainz’s victory at the Australian Grand Prix in March.

Speaking after Sunday's victory, he said: "No words can explain that. It's such a difficult race. I think the fact twice I've been starting on pole position, and we couldn't quite make it makes it even better in a way.

"It means a lot, obviously. It's the race which made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver one day.

"Fifteen laps to the end you're hoping nothing happens, and the emotions are coming.

"My dad has given everything for me to be here, and it was a dream of ours for me to race here and win here, so it's unbelievable.

"A huge thank you, the parade laps were special and seeing so many of my friends and people I know in the balcony, it was just very special. This one means a lot."

Piastri put in an assured drive to finish second, holding off Sainz to prevent a Ferrari one-two and was pleased with the way the race turned out.

"Thanks to the team. It's been a great weekend all-round. Nice to put a result on the board. I've been strong the last few weekends but didn't have the result to show for it. Nice to have a podium," he said.

"Charles has been mega all weekend. They have been quick from the very first lap.

"I'm happy with P2. A good result for the team. Very, very happy."

Charles Leclerc secured his first win at the Monaco Grand Prix, cruising to victory on home soil despite a first-lap red flag.

A huge crash between Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez seconds into the race saw the early red flag come out after the Dane tried to squeeze through a narrow gap but flipped the Red Bull instead. Both drivers were unharmed but unable to continue.

Having claimed his third pole in Monaco on Saturday, Leclerc followed that up with his first podium finish here, crossing the line seven seconds ahead of McLaren's Oscar Piastri.

Leclerc's Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz held off a charging Lando Norris to claim third, even after a tangle with Piastri during the initial start, though it did not affect his restart position.

George Russell rounded out the top five, holding off Max Verstappen – who was not able to improve on his sixth-place start – capping a disappointing weekend for Red Bull. 

Data Debrief: Curse-breaker

Leclerc is the 35th driver to win at his home Grand Prix. He has claimed pole three times in Monaco (2021, 2022, 2024), and has finished on the podium for the first time in his sixth Formula 1 race there. 

The Monegasque had already created history in qualifying, earning Ferrari's 250th pole in Formula 1 history, while claiming his 24th for the Italian team in the process.

Charles Leclerc ensured pole position for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, while Max Verstappen could only manage sixth place after crashing into a wall during qualifying.

Leclerc beat Oscar Piastri by 0.154 seconds for his third pole in the last four races in Monaco, where Ferrari have excelled on the narrow track layout, high kerbs and slow-speed corners.

Verstappen was seeking history by surpassing Ayrton Senna for an eighth successive pole in Qualifying, while maintaining his perfect record at the start of the season.

However, the runaway Drivers' Championship leader hit the wall at Sainte Devote on his final lap, and had to settle for sixth on a track where overtaking is regarded as the most difficult on the calendar.

Leclerc now hopes he and Ferrari can now convert their position at the head of the grid into victory, having failed to do so in each of the last two years.

"It was nice. The feeling after a qualifying lap is always very special here," he said. "[I am] really, really happy about the lap, the excitement is so high, but it feels really good.

"But now, I know more often than not, qualifying is not everything. As much as it counts, we need to put everything together on the Sunday. In past years, we did not manage to do it, but we are a stronger team now, and I am sure we can achieve the target."

His Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz was third, though he faces an investigation for impeding Williams' Alex Albon in the first session, ahead of Lando Norris and George Russell.

Oscar Piastri insists he is still targeting a podium finish, despite receiving a grid penalty ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver had initially qualified in second place behind Drivers' Championship leader Max Verstappen, with the Australian's teammate Lando Norris in third.

However, Piastri has since been handed a three-place grid drop after he impeded Kevin Magnussen while exiting the pits during Q1.

The 23-year-old admitted he could not see Magnusson at the chicane at Turns 2 and 3, and tried to get clear of the Dane as quickly as possible, though the steward's review highlighted McLaren's failure to give him sufficient warning that a faster car was approaching.

Nevertheless, Piastri did not let the penalty detract from a generally positive display during qualifying, which subsequently sees Norris take second place on the grid, with the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz leapfrogging him to third and fourth respectively.

"I'm really happy with the performance today," he said. "We were so close to pole on track.

"I've been really comfortable with the car from the moment we put it on track yesterday, and I am enjoying my first GP weekend here. We've definitely been on the pace all weekend and confidence is high.

"It is a shame to lose the front row and having to start from P5 as it’s not the easiest track to overtake on. However, we will try our best to recover some positions and fight to finish on the podium."

Max Verstappen takes pole position at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, equalling Ayrton Senna’s record in the process.

It is Verstappen’s eighth consecutive pole in Formula One after he recorded a best time of 1:14.746 around the track in the final qualification session for Sunday’s race.

The Dutchman will share the front row with Oscar Piastri, though he may receive a penalty for impeding Kevin Magnussen in Q1.

Piastri’s McLaren team-mate Lando Norris finished just behind him in third, while the two Ferraris, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, rounded out the top five after failing to build on their strong starts.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez failed to make it past Q2 after dropping to 11th, while Fernando Alonso was forced to pit before the end of Q3, finishing last. 

Max Verstappen continued to be critical of his own performance despite taking pole position for the Miami Grand Prix.

Verstappen, who won the sprint earlier on Saturday and had on Friday claimed pole in qualifying for that event, recorded a best time of 1:27.241 round the track in the final qualification session for Sunday's race.

The reigning Formula One world champion will share the front row with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who like in the sprint, came second.

Leclerc's team-mate Carlos Sainz pipped Red Bull's Sergio Perez to third, while Lando Norris rounded out the top five.

Verstappen, though, was not particularly thrilled with his drive, continuing the trend after both qualifying on Friday and the sprint race.

He said: "We definitely improved the car a bit but I don’t know what it is but every single year we come here I find it extremely difficult to be very consistent with the car and tyre feeling over one lap. It’s super hard to make sure that Sector One feels good and Sector Three at the end of the lap to make that happen together is incredibly tough.

"Again today it was really about finding that balance, I think we did ok, it wasn't the most enjoyable lap out of my career especially with how slippery it is and you aren't very confident on the lap but we are on pole."

Leclerc said: "I felt so much on the limit. It was very close until Q3, where we started to push for the last one or two tenths. We started to lose the tyres in sector two and three, overheating them quite a bit. That's where we lost a little bit of time.

"However, the race is long and this morning we showed a good pace, so I hope tomorrow we can put Max under a bit more pressure."

Lewis Hamilton recovered from a 20-second penalty in the sprint race to qualify in seventh, one place behind Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

Formula One world champion Max Verstappen claimed victory in the sprint race ahead of the Miami Grand Prix.

Verstappen clinched pole for the sprint in Friday's qualifying session, and capitalised on that effort to finish ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc on Saturday.

The Dutchman had to see off an early push from Leclerc, but ultimately had too much.

Sergio Perez, Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate, recovered from an early mistake to finish third.

Daniel Ricciardo took fourth, having fended off the challenge of both Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri.

It was a bad drive for Lewis Hamilton, who was penalised for speeding in the pit lane, dropping him from eighth down to 16th.

Formula One world champion Max Verstappen was surprised to claim pole position for Saturday's sprint race at the Miami Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.108 seconds faster than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in Friday's qualifying session.

That is despite the Dutchman believing his drive had not gone well at all.

"To be honest, it felt really terrible," said Verstappen, who holds a 25-point lead at the top of the F1 drivers' championship.

"Maybe that last session was just incredibly difficult to get the tyres to work. I didn't really improve a lot on the soft but somehow we were first.

"Practice felt really nice, it felt like the car was in a really good window but in qualifying it didn’t feel like that anymore. I was really not happy.

"In Q3 I saw I was only going 0.2secs faster and I was sliding around, no grip and they told me it was P1 and I thought it must be a joke but we'll take it."

Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez qualified third for the sprint, which will take place ahead of the main qualifying session for Sunday's race.

Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc riding for Ferrari will be "great to watch", according to Nico Rosberg, who expects a "tough battle" between two Formula One drivers on a similar level.

Mercedes and Hamilton will part ways after 12 seasons together as the seven-time world champion prepares to join Ferrari.

Leclerc got the nod ahead of current team-mate Carlos Sainz to remain with the Italian team, with the Ferrari driver ready to join forces with Hamilton in 2025.

"We're all looking forward to that dynamic," Rosberg, who partnered Hamilton at Mercedes from 2013 to 2016, told Sky Sports.

"Charles doesn't seem like someone who goes into conflict too much with his team-mate, so that will make it easier, maybe it won't be too extremely spicy."

Hamilton has failed to finish ahead of Mercedes team-mate George Russell in any of his first five 2024 grand prixs.

Yet Rosberg has no doubt over his quality, nor his soon-to-be partner Leclerc, who he ranks just behind Max Verstappen.

"Charles is probably the second-best qualifier out there after Max Verstappen, one could possibly say at the moment, so it will be a tough battle for both," Rosberg added.

"I think the level could be pretty similar, so it will be great to watch."

Ferrari's decision to move on from Sainz may come as somewhat of a surprise, given the team have featured on the podium at four of the five races this season.

Whereas Hamilton's switch comes after Mercedes failed to engineer a car capable of competing with the likes of Red Bull, though choosing Ferrari caught the eye.

"It came as a huge surprise," Rosberg said. "No one expected it. But If you look at the grand scheme of things, then why not?

"It's towards the end of his career. They are two legendary teams and I know Lewis has always been a big fan of Ferrari, so why not make that switch and have a different experience of driving in red once?

"At the moment, it seems in performance terms to be the right decision for him, which maybe he's made an amazing move like he did 12 years ago by moving from McLaren for Mercedes.

"McLaren was winning races and Mercedes was nowhere, and the moment he moved, McLaren went backwards and Mercedes started winning races. Maybe he can get the same timing done again."

Max Verstappen stormed to pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix as his dominance in qualifying continued.

The world champion has locked out the first spot on the grid this season and there was no answer to his pace at Suzuka.

His time of one minute 28.197 beat Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez into second place by just 0.066 seconds, while McLaren’s Lando Norris was the best of the rest.

Verstappen’s run of pole positions now stretches back to the last race of last season and he is now toasting a third pole in Japan.

The Dutchman never looked like being beaten and was quickest across all three qualifying sessions – as well as Saturday morning’s final practice.

He is aiming to get back on track after retiring in Melbourne and the rest of the field will be concerned that he could drive off into the distance from the start.

“It was quite close at the end,” Verstappen said of his latest pole lap.

“Overall this track is sensitive with the tyres and when you want to go to the limit it doesn’t always work out but what is important is being on pole. Overall, a very good day, a good starting position tomorrow and of course tomorrow is what counts.

“It is great as a team to be P1 and P2, hopefully we can keep that going tomorrow.”

Carlos Sainz won in Australia last time out and will start Sunday’s race fourth for Ferrari, with the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso fifth.

Oscar Piastri was sixth-fastest in the second McLaren, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell down in seventh and ninth, respectively.

Charles Leclerc is sandwiched between the pair, with home favourite Yuki Tsunoda rounding out the top 10.

Tsunoda scraped into the final session, eliminating RB team-mate Daniel Ricciardo at the end of Q2 to the roar of the Suzuka crowd.

Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas, Alex Albon and Esteban Ocon also failed to make it through and will start 12-15th, respectively.

Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen, Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu were knocked out in Q1.

Max Verstappen set the pace in final practice ahead of qualifying at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion retired last time out in Australia but he was once again top of the timesheets at Suzuka.

His time of one minute 29.563 was unmatched, with Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez getting closest to the championship leader but still having to settle for a gap of 0.269 seconds.

Mercedes lost both cars at the previous race but looked in good shape here as George Russell went third fastest with Lewis Hamilton next in line.

There was plenty of running in the hour-long session after both of Friday’s practices were affected – one by a red flag and the other by rain.

Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest with Lando Norris’ McLaren sixth and Australia’s race winner Carlos Sainz seventh for Ferrari.

His team-mate Charles Leclerc was down in 10th and was left fuming with his garage after the mistimed his final run on the track, cutting short his chances of improving.

Both Williams drivers were able to run after Logan Sargeant’s car was fixed following a big shunt on Friday – although the American was down in 19th place.

Second practice for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix proved to be a damp squib as McLaren’s Oscar Piastri set the fastest time on a weather-affected session.

Local favourite Yuki Tsunoda and his RB team-mate Daniel Ricciardo were the only drivers to set lap times early on in changeable conditions, but set their times on the intermediate tyre.

The hour-long session began in rain and, although it later stopped, the track was not deemed sufficiently dry enough for most teams to send out their cars.

Piastri was one of them and his time of one minute 34.725 seconds proved fast enough to top the timesheets, with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari the only others to set representative times.

Earlier, Max Verstappen set the pace in first practice as Willams endured another Friday to forget.

Reigning champion Verstappen retired in Melbourne a fortnight ago but was back at it here, his time of one minute 20.056 seconds was enough to see him go quickest at Suzuka, with team-mate Sergio Perez his closest challenger 0.181 seconds back.

A red flag halfway through the session stopped running for 11 minutes as Logan Sargeant crashed off at turn two – further adding to the Williams woes.

Sargeant sat out the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago as team-mate Alex Albon took his car after destroying his own in a practice crash and the team currently have no spare chassis.

Williams team principal James Vowles confirmed the car had suffered “extensive” damage and Sargeant was forced to sit out of second practice – although the lack of running meant there was little that would have been gained from taking part.

“It is pretty significant (damage). So the chassis is OK, fortunately, but I would say pretty much everything else isn’t – so the suspension around, the gearbox is cracked, big damage.

“At the top of the brow of the hill there, he struggled to see where his positioning was on track. So it fundamentally looks like he didn’t quite realise where he was with where the grass was on the outside and put a wheel on the grass.”

Albon went 12th fastest after the action restarted, while Verstappen assumed his usual position as the car to beat.

Carlos Sainz, who won in Australia last time out, was third-fastest for Ferrari ahead of the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Hamilton, while the second Ferrari of Leclerc was sixth.

Max Verstappen is on course to take a record-equalling 10 consecutive victories after putting his Red Bull on pole position for the Australian Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s third pole in as many races appeared under threat with Ferrari threatening to knock the all-conquering Dutchman off his perch.

But Verstappen upped the ante in front of a record Saturday crowd at Melbourne’s Albert Park of just shy of 131,000, to see off Carlos Sainz, who missed the last round in Saudi Arabia with appendicitis, by 0.270 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton holds a record eight pole positions here, but the British driver was eliminated in Q2, leaving him a disappointing 11th on the grid – his lowest starting position in Melbourne for 14 years.

Hamilton failed to progress to Q3 after he finished 0.059 seconds behind George Russell in the other Mercedes.

Russell, who will start seventh, holds a 3-0 qualifying lead over Hamilton who will leave the Silver Arrows at the end of the season to join Ferrari.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez qualified third, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who aborted his last lap after he made a mistake.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc saw off Max Verstappen in practice for the Australian Grand Prix – as Lewis Hamilton claimed “something was wrong” with his Mercedes after he finished only 18th.

Verstappen is bidding to match his record of 10 consecutive wins at this weekend’s race in Melbourne.

But Leclerc could pose a threat to the all-conquering Dutchman, following an impressive practice lap that put him nearly four-tenths clear.

Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz – back in his cockpit following British teenager Ollie Bearman’s stand-in drive in Saudi Arabia a fortnight ago – ended the running in third, with Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso fourth and fifth, respectively, for Aston Martin.

George Russell took sixth for Mercedes, 0.674 seconds behind Leclerc, but team-mate Hamilton finished ahead of only Haas’ Kevin Magnussen on a troubling day for the seven-time world champion.

Hamilton, 39, ran off the road in the first running at a sun-cooked Albert Park, and his struggles continued into the day’s concluding session, with a best lap that put him 1.5 sec off the pace and nearly a second behind Russell.

“What times are people doing?” Hamilton asked over the radio. After he was informed of leader Leclerc’s pace, he replied, “Yeah, something is wrong.”

Only 19 drivers took part in the second session following Alex Albon’s high-speed crash in the opening session.

The London-born Thai driver lost control of his Williams on the exit of Turn 6 before smashing into the wall on the inside of the track and rebounding across the circuit.

Albon’s right-front wheel tore off his machine under impact, with debris from his Williams littering the track.

Albon came to a standstill and was able to get out of his cockpit. “Sorry,” he said over the radio before he was taken away in the medical car.

“Muchos debris,” said Lando Norris. “Is he alright? It looked pretty large.”

Albon, 27, was taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks as the session was red-flagged to clear his destroyed machine.

Williams said he would not participate in the second practice due to the damage to his car, and it is uncertain if he will be able to take part in the remainder of the weekend with spare parts limited to the British team.

Elsewhere, home favourite Oscar Piastri finished seventh, two positions ahead of Norris in the other McLaren who had topped the time charts earlier in the day in front of a record 124,000-strong crowd.

Page 1 of 12
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.