Charles Leclerc says that Scuderia Ferrari needs to continue the upwards trend it experienced through the Formula 1 French Grand Prix weekend in this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Despite team-mate Sebastian Vettel struggling with technical issues in Qualifying 3 at Circuit Paul Ricard, Leclerc managed third on the grid in France and held his position at the chequered flag in Sunday’s race.
The Monégasque driver closed in on Mercedes AMG Motorsport‘s Valtteri Bottas in the late stages of the 53-lap race, but could not get close enough to take second place from the Finn and prevent a sixth 1-2 finish of the 2019 season for Mercedes.
Like Vettel, Leclerc believes that Saturday’s qualifying session could have a big say in the outcome of the race due to the fine margins of starting from the front or in the middle of the field.
“The circuit is an interesting one,” said Leclerc. “It’s quite a short lap, so you really have to put it all together to secure a good position in qualifying.
“We made some progress during the last race weekend, especially in qualifying, improving my performance from Q1 to Q3.
“The target will be to build on that and find further ways to improve overall.”
Ferrari’s upgrade package did not have the desired effect in Paul Ricard, prompting the team to revert the changes midway through the weekend.
The team is confident that it has a plan to help the increasingly difficult task of catching Mercedes, and that the upcoming tracks before the summer break will be more to the SF90‘s liking.
Leclerc is also excited about his second F1 visit to Spielberg, having taken a ninth place finish with Alfa Romeo Sauber in his rookie season in 2018.
Prior to that, he took victory in the feature race at the Red Bull Ring on his way to the 2017 FIA Formula 2 championship.
“I look forward to returning to Spielberg,” Leclerc added.
“The atmosphere is great and there are many activities taking place around the track, which gives fans as well as ourselves a great experience.”