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Leclerc assesses Ferrari’s victory chances in Bahrain as he highlights Red Bull ‘unknown’

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 28: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks on in the Paddock

Charles Leclerc is hopeful that he and Ferrari can challenge for victory at this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, vowing to do “absolutely everything” to topple reigning world champions Red Bull.

Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both commented after pre-season testing that Red Bull remain the team to beat heading into the new campaign, with the overhauled RB20 hitting the ground running and impressing many in the paddock.

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As the F1 field gathered at the Bahrain International Circuit for race week, Leclerc gave a fresh assessment of Ferrari’s chances and the one area in which they have not yet been able to compare themselves against Red Bull.

“The thing is that Red Bull is one of the only teams that didn’t do a full race simulation during the test, which is normally what helps us to understand where we are exactly,” said Leclerc. “It’s very difficult to know where they are.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 28: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks onahead of the F1 Grand

Leclerc and the rest of the F1 field reconvened at the Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday

“We did one, so we know where we are obviously. Some of the teams have done some race runs which we have kind of an idea where they stand, but [with] Red Bull it’s not the case. It’s impossible to understand where we are.”

With two pole positions (2019 and 2022) and a race win (2022) under his belt in Sakhir, Leclerc added: “This is a track we’ve been strong [at] in the past and I hope we can challenge for the win. Of course, if there’s an opportunity we will do absolutely everything to take it.”

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Leclerc then tackled the question of what would represent a successful season for himself and Ferrari in 2024 – the Monegasque having gone without a win last season and the team triumphing just once.

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“To be challenging for many more wins, definitely that would be a step forward and that would be a positive season,” Leclerc commented.

“I think we need to continue on the positive momentum of the second part of last year, because as much as it’s not been a positive season overall – we started much lower than what our expectations were at the beginning of 2023 – the second part of the year was much more positive.

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“I think everybody in the team also felt that, and around the paddock, that we were in a positive spiral, and going towards better things, with a very clear vision of where we wanted to go and how to go there.

“This is exactly how we need to approach this season, to continue that way, with clear vision, and significant steps forward every time we put something inside the car, which was the case in the second half of last season.”

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