Leclerc proves his talent, but Ferrari lack speed

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Charles Leclerc. Image: Clive Mason / Getty Images
Charles Leclerc. Image: Clive Mason / Getty Images

Charles Leclerc proved his talent and, at the same time, Ferrari's lack of competitive performance on Sunday when after a strong start he finished eighth at the inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix.

The Monegasque grabbed third place on the crash-hit opening lap, but lacked the speed to stay there and was gradually passed by rivals from other teams. His team mate, outgoing four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, finished 10th.

For the historic Italian team, celebrating their 1000th Grand Prix at the Ferrari-owned circuit in Tuscany's rolling parklands, it was an uninspiring way to end a memorable party.

"We were just slow," said Leclerc. "There's not much more to add. We didn't have the pace. I put myself in the best position possible, the two Mercedes were going away so I had free air, but just struggling so much with the car."

Leclerc said Ferrari need to understand why the car is inconsistent as it performed well in qualifying, but not in the race. At other circuits, it had been the other way around.

"We need to work honestly and to try to understand because at some races we're not very competitive in qualifying, but are then very competitive in the race, which has been the case at the beginning of the season," he said.

"Now, we seem to have done a good job in 'quali' but struggled massively with the car in the race. It is a difficult moment."

At least, for the team, it ended a slump of two pointless races at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza.

Vettel said he was also confused by the car's performance.

"Obviously we're fighting hard and trying everything to get the points," he said. "But, we weren't quick enough.

"Why? It's always a good question and a difficult one to answer, but there's more than one reason.... Today, we expected to have a better race pace."

Vettel, who moves to Aston Martin next year, was also critical of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas' driving before the second multi-car collision at the first re-start.

"It's simply unnecessary," he said of the slow stop-go driving from the Finn who was trying to warm his tyres and seek an advantage.

"As the leader, you have to be aware of such things."

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