Ferrari needs to keep pace with McLaren’s development – Leclerc

Ferrari needs to make sure its imminent upgrades keep it in the fight with McLaren as well as Red Bull after Lando Norris’ victory in the Miami Grand Prix, according to Charles Leclerc.

Norris ran the full upgrade package for McLaren in Miami, and duly won on Sunday after showing impressive pace in clear air and then being able to jump into the lead during a safety car period. While Leclerc – who was second in the Sprint and third in the main race – had a productive weekend and was close to Max Verstappen’s pace throughout, he says McLaren’s gains show how Ferrari need a similar step forward from an update that is expected in Imola next time out.

“If we compare ourselves to Max this weekend, it’s been a positive weekend,” Leclerc said. “However, we cannot completely ignore Lando. And Lando in SQ2, I remember he did a lap where I was like, ‘OK, they are extremely quick’. Then for some reason, I think they weren’t as special on Saturday. But [on Sunday] they were really, really strong.


“As I’ve said many times, I think the season will be up to upgrades. We have ours coming very soon and that will define a the rest of the season for us. So we’ve got to work hard and hopefully those upgrades will be as good as theirs and will help us to do a significant step forward.”

The performance of McLaren clearly caught Leclerc’s eye as Norris went on to win by over seven seconds in Miami, but the Ferrari driver admits there was something special about seeing another young driver take their first victory.

“I’m just really happy for Lando,” he said. “You know, as much as we all want to beat each other and to come out on top, it’s always emotional to see so many emotions in one of your competitors.

“We have all grown up together. I mean, Max and myself were in the category above, but you always keep an eye on the younger categories. And I remember looking at Lando when he was in KF3, and we all had this same dream of being a Formula 1 driver one day.

“Once you achieve that you want obviously the first win and I remember my first win and it is a very, very special moment … he definitely deserves it.”

Story originally appeared on Racer