Charles Leclerc says Ferrari should do different strategies between himself and Carlos Sainz to help put pressure on Sergio Perez in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Perez and Leclerc are level on points heading into the final race, with the two drivers fighting to be runner-up in the drivers’ championship this season. Perez starts second alongside Max Verstappen after Red Bull locked out the front row, but Leclerc — who qualified third — says having an all-Ferrari second row provides the team with its own options to attack.
“Difficult to say for the strategy,” Leclerc said. “I think we’ll have to see once we are in the race, and what are the opportunities at that moment. Obviously, Carlos is starting right behind me and hopefully we can put a bit of pressure on Checo by doing different things. …I mean, regardless of the championship, if there’s an opportunity, I’ll try and go for it.”
The Monegasque believes Ferrari missed an opportunity to challenge Perez more closely in qualifying by not copying Red Bull’s slipstreaming tactics.
“It was really, really tricky to put the tires in the right window, and you will get a very different feeling from one lap to another,” he said. “And it was also quite a lot about management, even in qualifying. If you were pushing first and second sector, then you will lose it all in sector three.
“So I tried to find that balance that I think I found in the last lap of Q3, but it wasn’t enough to challenge Checo. We were also a little bit alone. I had no slipstream, so I don’t know how much this… We paid the price.”
Leclerc is slightly worried by Ferrari’s lack of pace in FP2 on Friday evening, with the only representative session in terms of track conditions seeing the Scuderia struggling compared to Red Bull.
“We’ve had a difficult FP2. During the race simulations, it felt definitely quite a bit better this morning, but we had no reference, so it’s a bit of a question mark for now. I felt like we are in a better place compared to yesterday. Whether this is enough to beat the Red Bulls tomorrow, I don’t know yet, but we’ll give it all.”