Leclerc expects Ferrari to go “back to reality” after Monaco

Ferrari spent the first four races of the season largely battling McLaren to lead the F1 midfield, but enjoyed a surprising upswing in form around the low-speed Monaco layout.

Leclerc scored Ferrari’s first pole position since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, but failed to start the race due to damage sustained in his crash at the end of qualifying.

Team-mate Carlos Sainz finished the race in second place, marking his first podium for the team and Ferrari’s best result of the season so far.

But Leclerc was quick to downplay any suggestions that this could mark Ferrari’s arrival in the fight with Red Bull and Mercedes at the front, feeling its form would return to normal at this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“I think it will be a bit back to reality now,” Leclerc said.

“Monaco was a one-off. We were fighting for the victory, which was incredible and very nice for the motivation of everyone.

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“But now, with long straights and a bit more high-speed in general here, even though there are quite a lot of slow speed corners, I believe we will be back to the to the normal competitiveness that we’ve that we’ve had before Monaco.”

Asked if there were any other tracks where Ferrari could perform as well as it did in Monaco, Leclerc picked Singapore, hoping the street course would again play to the strengths of the SF21 car.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“The simple answer is that I felt like Monaco was a one-off,” Leclerc said.

“If we are looking at the calendar, I think one that could look the most similar to Monaco is probably Singapore.

“But then whether it will be as competitive or not, I don’t know the conditions are very different, very humid. It’s quite a bit warmer. 

“But I if you look at the track characteristics, I think Singapore is the one that gets the closest to to Monaco.”

Monaco marked the first race where Ferrari had been as competitive as Red Bull and Mercedes in terms of pure performance since the end of 2019, having seen its form slump dramatically last year.

Leclerc took confidence in the aerodynamic performance of the SF21 car, saying it gave him a good level of balance through the slow-speed corners.

“We think the aero actually, even today, with how much aero we have on the car, it’s actually quite powerful,” Leclerc said.

“So in the low-speed corners, it’s a combination of chassis and aero that makes it quite nice. The balance is also quite nice in the low-speed corners, which helps us so it’s a combination of things that makes our car quite strong in the low-speed.

“We were even stronger on the low-speed in Monaco than we were basically in the low-speed of all the tracks before, so I think there was maybe something more in Monaco that that we need to to understand.

“But as I said, Monaco is a one-off, so we shouldn’t get carried away too much.”

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