Charles Leclerc says Ferrari can’t ignore McLaren after their F1 Miami GP win, as Frederic Vasseur adds on putting pressure on Red Bull.

While Red Bull still had the legs in F1 Miami GP, it was McLaren on top in the end courtesy of Lando Norris. Ferrari seemingly were third best eventually after Leclerc was third on the road and Carlos Sainz ending up fifth due to late penalty.

Seeing their performances and it only growing, Leclerc admits that Ferrari cannot ignore McLaren in the mix even though Red Bull are ahead especially with Max Verstappen. “If we compare ourselves to Max in Miami, it was a positive weekend,” he 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, and as Lando said, I think they weren’t as special on Saturday for some reason. 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 little bit 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,” summed up Leclerc, as Vasseur concurred about McLaren being strong already in 2024 and that it isn’t a surprise.

“It’s not the first time of the season that they’ve had a strong pace,” he said. “If you have a look at Melbourne for example, they were fighting with us. Overall, I think you have three teams fighting all the weekend in two or three tenths, from lap to lap, stint to stint or compound to compound.

“Overall, I was not surprised. On Friday they were there. They brought an upgrade this weekend. If you have a look at the last couple of races, they were always there. China, the pace was good. It will be like this until the end of the season. I think that we – McLaren and us – probably catch up a little bit on Red Bull.

“Then it’s more a matter of track position than something, because it is so difficult to overtake that when you are in one or two tenths it’s dictated by the track position,” summed up Vasseur, who noted about Red Bull still having the advantage but the Frenchman believes that Ferrari has managed to put them under pressure.

On a day when everything works out well for Ferrari, they have put pressure on Red Bull to push them into a mistake. “I think it’s almost like this since the beginning of the season, depending on the track,” said Vasseur. “I think honestly that Red Bull is still ahead. Probably Max could have won in Miami without the story of the safety car.

“I don’t want to draw any conclusion on this, but they did the pole position, it means they have still a small advantage. What is true is that compared to one year ago, when we are able to do a good job and to put everything together, we are there. It means we are putting them a little bit under pressure, they have to be a bit more aggressive with the strategy, they are not anymore in the comfort zone of last year where it doesn’t matter what happens, after lap 2 they were in front.

“I think it’s a game-changer in the management of the race. This is an opportunity for us, because if we are doing another small step, I think that we will be really in a position to fight with them every single weekend,” summed up Vasseur.

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