Charles Leclerc leaves Miami feeling ‘disappointed’

Charles Leclerc finished second to Max Verstappen in Miami after taking pole on Saturday.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc would have liked to convert pole into victory in Miami, but affirms that there is plenty of pace still to unlock in the car.

The Monegasque produced a fine lap to take pole from Max Verstappen on Saturday, before the Dutchman was able to clear both Carlos Sainz and the race leader in the opening stages.

A late Safety Car threatened to give Leclerc the opportunity to snatch the victory at the end, but the team missed the pit window as a Virtual Safety Car became a full one, so the reigning world champion held on for the win.

READ: FIA rejected Ocon and Sainz’s call amid safety concerns at Miami GP

The four-time race winner observes that the Hards were a lot kinder to the car than the Mediums he ran in the first stint.

“I’m obviously disappointed,” he said in a social media video after the race.

“Starting on pole, I wanted to win this race but on the Mediums we just weren’t as strong as Red Bull.

“They were a little bit better with tyres, but again then on the Hards we found the pace again, but it was too late with the race time we lost on the Mediums.

“After the Safety Car, I believed in the win and I gave my 200 percent, we came close but it wasn’t enough so we need to keep pushing as much as possible, bring the upgrades as quickly as possible to hopefully gain a little bit the pace that we lacked compared to Red Bull.”

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However, Leclerc takes heart from the pole position that exemplified the Italian team’s pace, but he maintains that they need to improve the car so that it can more consistently compete with Red Bull on Sundays.

“We have the quali pace which is good but now we need to do one more step in the race,” he explained.

In Ferrari’s post-race report, the championship leader reiterated that the team had enjoyed a fairly fruitful weekend, but regrets that he came tantalisingly close to the win at the end.

“All in all, we had a good weekend here in Miami, so of course I am disappointed to miss out on first place,” he added.

“While we had good pace on the Hard tyres, it was more tricky for us on the Mediums which our competitors were just faster on today, so we couldn’t close the gap in the first stint.

“I thought we’d have a shot at taking back the lead after the Safety Car, but it just wasn’t enough today.

READ: Lewis Hamilton ‘grateful’ for improved qualifying performance in Miami

“I thought the atmosphere was amazing this weekend and there was a really great show around the race and I look forward to coming back.”

Leclerc’s championship advantage has now been cut to 19 points as Ferrari gear up for a new upgrade package to bring to the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.