Charles Leclerc makes massively worrying Red Bull claim

Charles Leclerc went second fastest during qualifying in Jeddah but served a ten-place grid penalty before the race.

The 2023 season opener in Bahrain proved that once again, Red Bull have the potential to dominate a Formula 1 season, with a front row lockout in qualifying and one-two finish in the race allowing them to flex their muscles.

Ferrari would have been hoping to be able to challenge Red Bull for both championships this season but have not even been able to lay a glove on the energy drink giants this year.

Charles Leclerc fell afoul of Ferrari’s continuing reliability issues in Bahrain and was forced to retire from the race whilst tyre degradation issues prevented Carlos Sainz from finishing on the podium.

Leclerc went second fastest in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix and will be annoyed to have to serve a ten-place grid penalty, due to his team already using both of their allowed energy stores on his SF-23.

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The Monegasque driver managed to go within 0.3s of pole sitter Sergio Perez in Q3 but believes that the gap to Red Bull is much bigger than this time difference suggests.

“I put everything into my lap but I feel like the gap we are seeing from Checo to myself is not the real one, I think the gap is much bigger than that,” he said.

“And eventually my goal is to beat the Red Bull, it’s not to finish second or third or fourth or whatever. So there is still a lot of work to do to before getting to their level.

“For tomorrow we have a ten-place grid penalty so it will be starting the race a bit on the back foot but I will do absolutely everything to come back to the front.”

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Leclerc will not be the only driver starting further back than they would have liked, with Max Verstappen starting from P15 after a disastrous qualifying session.

The Dutchman experienced a driveshaft failure before he was able to set a lap time in Q2, leaving his teammate Sergio Perez to snatch pole position.

With both of these star drivers starting towards the back of the grid, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix once again promises to be one of the most exciting races of the season.