Charles Leclerc believes his pole position and Ferrari’s impressive pace in Monaco were a “one-off” for the Scuderia which will now go “back to reality” in Baku.
Hard work in Maranello during the months that preceded the start of the 2021 season has led to the Italian outfit significantly improving its performance this year as its P4 position in the Constructors’ standings shows.
While a failed driveshaft forced Leclerc to withdraw from his home race, teammate Carlos Sainz made the most of the SF21’s potential in Monaco with a spirited drive to P2.
But Leclerc says Ferrari will be hard pressed to uphold its Monaco form in this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“I think it will be a bit back to reality now,” said the Monegasque in Baku on Thursday.
“Monaco was a one-off. We were fighting for the victory, which was incredible and very nice for the motivation of everyone.
“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 had before Monaco.”
Leclerc reckons that Ferrari might need to wait until the Singapore Grand Prix in early October for another chance to shine as bright as it did in Monaco.
“If we are looking at the calendar, I think one that could look the most similar to Monaco is probably Singapore,” he said.
“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 Monaco.”
Leclerc elaborated on the reasons for Ferrari’s relative strength in tight and twisty streets of Monte Carlo which catered to the low-downforce aero characteristics of its SF21.
“We think the aero actually – even today, with how much aero we have on the car – it’s actually quite powerful,” he explained.
“So in the low-speed corners, it’s a combination of chassis and aero that makes it quite nice.
“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 understand.
“But as I said, Monaco is a one-off, so we shouldn’t get carried away too much.”
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