Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Charles Leclerc takes second in Austria: “It’s good to be back on the podium”

Having taken his first podium since Baku, Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was pleased by his finish at the Austrian Grand Prix, converting his front row start to a second place finish. The Monegasque driver felt that the upgrades brought to SF-23 played a role in the result, and hopes that they can continue their trajectory. 

“It’s good to be back on the podium. Friday and today we maximised what we have and the upgrades we introduced this weekend worked well. The team has done an excellent job and we will keep pushing in this direction.”

Leclerc thanked his team-mate Carlos Sainz for his excellent defending against Sergio Pérez, which may have prevented the Red Bull from overtaking second place in the race’s closing stages and made for one of the most thrilling battles of the Grand Prix. 

“I also want to thank Carlos as he made my life a bit easier by putting up a great defence against Checo. I was watching on the big screen, it was very exciting!”

Moving into the next part of the double header, the British Grand Prix, Leclerc hopes to come even closer to the frontrunners at Red Bull Racing and extract the maximum from their newly developed SF-23. 

“Now we go to Silverstone which, with Spielberg, is among my favorite circuits. Hopefully we can take advantage of the new upgrades we have on the car again and offer a bit more of a challenge to Red Bull in the next round.”

“I think we deserved a double podium today” – Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz felt that he missed out on a podium at the Red Bull Ring, ending up crossing the line in fourth place before being knocked back to sixth on account of track limits infringements post-race.

Sainz said that he was put on the back foot after his first pit stop during the Virtual Safety Car period on lap sixteen, losing a couple of seconds after in the double stack. Otherwise, he was happy with how the car was performing and felt good about pushing for the podium positions. 

In trying to make up for the lost time, Sainz was one of many drivers to be handed a track limits penalty, which he had to serve during his second stop. 

“It was a very solid race even though I’m not happy with the final result, as I think we deserved a double podium today. I felt very quick and comfortable with the car but after the first stop the race was compromised as we lost time and positions.”

“I did my best to push hard and recover, with some good overtaking, but unfortunately I received the penalty for track limits.” 

With all these factors in play, he wasn’t able to hang onto his third place, with SF-23 not quite able to withstand the challenge of Perez’s RB19. In spite of this, Sainz said that he is pleased with their improvement in Austria and hopes the team can continue on this path. 

“In the end I tried absolutely everything to defend from Checo but couldn’t hold on to that place on the podium. There are some things to review, but in general we have to be happy with the progress made and we need to keep pushing in this direction.”

Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

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