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Leclerc reflects on Miami start incident with Perez as he admits Ferrari need to ‘catch up’ to McLaren after Norris victory

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Second placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari attends the

Charles Leclerc was pleased to come away from the Miami Grand Prix with a P3 result, but acknowledged that Ferrari may have some catching up to do after Lando Norris displayed impressive pace in the McLaren en route to his debut F1 victory.

It was a poor getaway for Leclerc when the lights went out at the Miami International Autodrome, with the Monegasque’s slow start from P2 allowing Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz through in the approach to Turn 1.

READ MORE: Norris beats Verstappen for breakthrough maiden F1 victory in action-packed Miami Grand Prix

However, Perez locked up in the Red Bull and just managed to avoid contact with team mate Max Verstappen in the lead, a move that also saw Sainz slip back while Leclerc reclaimed second place.

With Norris leading when a Safety Car was called on Lap 29 of 57 following a collision between Logan Sargeant and Kevin Magnussen, the McLaren man held onto P1 until the chequered flag, crossing the line ahead of Verstappen in second and Leclerc in third.

2024 Miami Grand Prix: Perez overshoots Turn 1 and almost hits Verstappen on the race start

Reflecting on his difficult start to the race, Leclerc explained: “It was very tricky. Checo [Perez] was on my inside. I didn’t have a great start, as soon as I let the clutch I had wheelspin.

"I saw Checo on the right, but there was very little grip and he locked up and I thought we would crash, but fortunately for everybody we all got out that first corner without any damage.

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from a dramatic Miami Grand Prix as Norris takes debut F1 win ahead of Verstappen

“Then it was all about trying to focus on ourselves. Today we were again missing a little bit of pace, but we did our best. Obviously we have been unlucky with the Safety Car. The timing of the Safety Car wasn’t great for us, then we ended up having the oldest tyres of all the guys at the front.

“But we managed everything quite well, so P3 was the best we could do and we should be satisfied with that.”

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 on track during

Leclerc crossed the line two seconds behind Verstappen, while Norris was a total of nine seconds ahead in P1

While Leclerc ended the race only two seconds behind Verstappen, the Ferrari was a total of nine seconds behind Norris at the front. Leclerc praised the Briton for taking his first win in the sport but also admitted that the Scuderia need to bring updates to their own car in order to pose more of a challenge.

“First of all I’m really happy for Lando – he deserves it,” said Leclerc. “Very often he arrived close to it but for one reason or another he didn’t make it, but today he did an incredible job and the whole weekend he has been on it.

FACTS AND STATS: Norris becomes 21st British winner on 110th McLaren start

“Already in Q2 there was a lap where I was like, ‘okay, they are very, very strong’. We were expecting them to be strong, maybe not as strong as what they’ve shown today, but he fully deserves it. Now it’s up to us to hopefully bring the upgrades very quickly and catch up.”

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