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Leclerc accuses rivals of 'pointing the finger' at Ferrari

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has accused his rivals of shifting expectation from themselves and dumping it on the Italian team ahead of the new F1 season.

Charles Leclerc believes that Ferrari's rivals are "pointing the finger" at the Italian team in an attempt to shift pressure away from themselves ahead of the 2022 F1 season. Lewis Hamilton told the media on Friday evening that Ferrari would be in with a chance of claiming a one-two win were the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix held this week. He is not alone in talking up the F1-75, with a number of drivers up and down the grid suggesting that Leclerc, and teammate Carlos Sainz, may well have the best car for the new season. But Leclerc has urged Ferrari fans to be "careful" as he played down talk of his team's pace.

Leclerc sure Red Bull and Mercedes are the teams to beat

"I think everyone is trying to point the finger at someone else, so they don't have too much pressure, but I think everyone also knows that it means absolutely nothing, so for now we'll have to wait," said Leclerc. "Even though it's a new project, I'm pretty sure that Red Bull and Mercedes, after doing so many strong seasons in the past years, will remain the teams to beat, so we are working hard. "It looks not bad for now. But we need to keep working. "I think Red Bull will have another upgrade coming before the race. We've seen the Mercedes arrive with a completely different car here. So yeah, we cannot relax."

Ferrari need to be careful, warns the Monegasque

Leclerc added: "We need to be careful because, yes, the lap times are there, but we don't know what Mercedes are doing, we don't know what Red Bull are doing, we don't know what whoever is doing in this paddock. "Mercedes and Red Bull, for sure, they have much more to come, so yeah, I wouldn't get carried away by the lap times – they don't mean anything for now." Ferrari ended the four-hour session top of the timesheets, as nine of the teams left the track, while Haas, having been granted permission to claw back the time they lost after missing Thursday's morning session, stayed out alone on track. Sainz was top of the timing tower in his F1-75 at that stage but a shock extra-time lap from Kevin Magnussen beat him in the final minutes of the day.

RESULTS 2024 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix