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Leclerc targeting podium push after enjoying ‘flat-out’ run to P4 in F1 Sprint

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Charles Leclerc was left revelling in the pace of his Ferrari SF21 after the first ever F1 Sprint at Silverstone, holding onto his P4 starting position in the 17-lap encounter – which left the Monegasque cautiously optimistic of getting involved in the podium scrap for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

Leclerc managed to avoid any Lap 1 dramas in the F1 Sprint – unlike team mate Carlos Sainz, who clashed with Williams’ George Russell and fell to P18, before recovering to 11th – and went on to show strong race pace, finishing just four seconds off the third-placed Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

READ MORE: Verstappen wins thrilling F1 Sprint at Silverstone to claim pole position for British GP

“Even though it was quite a lonely race, I actually enjoyed it,” said Leclerc afterwards. “To be pushing so much for 17 laps, flat-out, is a bit different. I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

“I don’t see any reason why we’ll struggle more tomorrow than today, apart from maybe if conditions change,” he added. “But it should be fine. It will change for everyone and hopefully we’ll keep that pace tomorrow.”

Charles Leclerc 'surprised' to match Bottas pace in F1 Sprint

Leclerc enjoyed an excellent pair of Silverstone races in 2020, taking P4 at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, while he was able to podium with P3 in the British Grand Prix. And he said making the rostrum was his aim for Sunday’s race this year too.

READ MORE: ‘I was a passenger’ – Perez laments big spin in F1 Sprint as he faces back-row start in British Grand Prix

“Today the pace was very, very good. I could stay behind Valtteri all the race, more or less, at a reasonable distance without him pulling away too much, so that is positive for tomorrow.

“I will try to push for a podium for sure,” added Leclerc, “but if we don't make the position at the start, it's going to be difficult to overtake on track. So we definitely need to try and make a position at the start without taking too many risks, because we're not fighting Mercedes and Red Bull this year. But if there's an opportunity, I will take it.”

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