Charles Leclerc has high hopes for next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, with the Monegasque’s last Formula 1 victory having come at the Red Bull Ring last season.
Leclerc has endured a disappointing start to 2023, mostly due to driving an inconsistent car.
He currently finds himself seventh in the Drivers’ Championship and 141 points behind leader Max Verstappen, after just eight races.
The Ferrari driver at least heads to Red Bull’s home race having salvaged a positive result at the Canadian Grand Prix, where he was eliminated ahead of Q3 for the second race in a row.
Leclerc was dumped out of qualifying in Q2 following yet another case of miscommunication with Ferrari, summing up his season so far.
However, he did well to recover to fourth during the race, having presented some of the best race pace.
Should he take his strong race pace into next weekend, then Leclerc could be set for his second podium of the season; however, he admits that the Maranello-based team aren’t in the “same position” as they were 12 months ago.
“I really like Austria as a track, it is probably one of my favourites of the season,” Leclerc told Give Me Sport.
“[It’s] a non street track, so I’m looking forward to it. Last year we had a really good weekend and I hope we’ll have just the same this year, but obviously we are not exactly in the same position.
“Red Bull is quite far in front, but we’ll try to maximise the weekend and hopefully we’ll bring the good feeling that we had on this track [Montréal] there. And if so then I’m pretty confident we can achieve a podium.”
Whilst Leclerc is hopeful of a podium in Spielberg, he doesn’t want to get too carried away just yet with his predictions.
He’s expecting Ferrari’s performance in Austria to “depend” on the venue’s “characteristics”, given how much the SF-23’s pace has varied at recent rounds.
“I think our pace in Austria will depend on a lot and on the characteristics of the circuit,” Leclerc added.
“I think our pace varies a lot depending on that. We see places like Monaco, or Canada, we are stronger [there] than places with higher speed corners like Barcelona where we were struggling a bit more, so I think we will see variations in our competitiveness.”