2023 Spanish GP: Charles Leclerc on Max Verstappen’s dominance

Red Bull and Max Verstappen have looked dominant once again at the 2023 Spanish GP.

Red Bull Racing’s dominance in the 2023 Formula 1 championship has continued to impress throughout the paddock, leaving their rivals in awe. 

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has acknowledged that Red Bull is in a “league of their own” in terms of pace during this weekend’s Grand Prix in Barcelona. 

Despite the field appearing tightly packed, the reigning World Champions show no signs of relinquishing their hold on the sport.

Having secured victory in all six races of the season so far, Red Bull’s performance in Barcelona looks set to be equally impressive. 

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During Friday’s free practice sessions, where the margins throughout the field seemed fine, Red Bull’s superiority was evident. 

Max Verstappen set the fastest time in FP1 and FP2, with only half a second separating the top 10 drivers and 17 out of the 20 cars within a second of the championship leader.

Leclerc recognized that the margins between the teams were as tight as they had ever been, although he admitted that Red Bull remains top of the class, particularly in terms of race pace. 

When asked about Ferrari’s prospects for the weekend, Leclerc found it difficult to predict the outcome, emphasising that the perfect lap in qualifying would be crucial in determining who would be at the front.

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“It’s very difficult to answer that question, because I think, again, it’s closer than ever, apart from Red Bull that are in a league of their own, with their car at the moment, especially in race pace,” Leclerc said.

“Everybody else seems to be more or less there. So I think the ones that will be in front will be the ones that do the perfect lap in quali, and so it’s going to be very close.”

Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz relished the changes made to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the final sector having been restored to its former layout, last seen in 2006. 

The reintroduction of two sweeping right-handers in place of a slow chicane adds a new level of excitement and challenge to the race. 

Sainz thoroughly enjoyed the altered track during free practices, despite acknowledging the increased physical demands it placed on the drivers. 

The high speeds and unpredictable nature of the cars will test their skills and physical endurance, creating a thrilling and demanding experience.

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“I think at the moment the track is a lot more fun to drive,” Sainz said.

“It’s also more demanding physically for the neck. The cars are not easy to drive around here with this high speed and the bouncing that we all have, or at least we have quite a lot and the cars are quite demanding, unpredictable.

“But it’s a challenge and we take it; we just need to make sure we improve the car a bit going into tomorrow and Sunday and hopefully it makes it even more fun.”