Charles Leclerc has confused Ferrari’s engineers

Charles Leclerc has claimed three podiums so far in 2023, whereas Carlos Sainz hasn't finished on the rostrum once.

According to Corriere dello Sport, Ferrari’s engineers are baffled as to how Charles Leclerc has been so quick in the SF-23 recently, with him having been towards the front at the recent Belgian Grand Prix.

2023 has been a strange season for Leclerc, who started the campaign woefully.

Leclerc was comfortably the weaker of the two Ferrari drivers in the opening rounds, before suddenly showing some pace.

He claimed pole position for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and the Azerbaijan sprint race, before finishing on the rostrum in the actual race and second in the sprint.

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Leclerc also went well at the Austrian Grand Prix recently, where he finished second behind Max Verstappen.

His third-place finish at Spa-Francorchamps recently was arguably his most impressive podium of the lot though, given the competition Ferrari faced from Mercedes and McLaren.

Despite this, the Monegasque showed incredibly consistency to defend P3 from Lewis Hamilton, who arguably had better pace on the whole.

Leclerc is actually the only Ferrari driver to have claimed a podium this season, with Carlos Sainz having a somewhat mediocre campaign.

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The 25-year-old currently sits fifth in the Drivers’ Championship on 99 points and is seven points ahead of his Spanish team-mate.

Ferrari have been stronger in qualifying for the bulk of 2023, with both Leclerc and Sainz often enduring tyre degradation issues.

Nevertheless, the Maranello-based team are reportedly blown away by how much pace Leclerc has extracted from the car this season.

It’s also been reported that Ferrari are set to keep their golden boy, who’s believed to have agreed to a deal taking him to the end of 2026, but with the option for a further three seasons.

This would see him at Ferrari until the end of 2029, by at which point Max Verstappen might’ve retired from the pinnacle of motorsport.

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However, Leclerc has insisted that contract negotiations are yet to commence, with no official announcement having been made over an extension just yet.

Sainz on the other hand, has been linked with a move away from Ferrari when his deal expires at the end of 2024.

The Spaniard has been rumoured to switch to Sauber for 2025, ahead of their merge with Audi in 2026.