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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc issues Red Bull warning ahead of Chinese GP

Ferrari is looking to add another victory to its triumph at the Australian Grand Prix earlier this year as Formula 1 descends on Shanghai.

Leclerc China
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc is buoyant over Ferrari's chances at the Chinese Grand Prix, insisting he expects it will be close to Red Bull's race pace on Sunday.

Ferrari has already taken to the top step of the podium this year, with Leclerc's team-mate Carlos Sainz triumphing in Melbourne last month.

The Italian squad has consistently been the second-fastest squad this season, appearing on the podium at each of the opening four races.

Last time out in Japan, Ferrari was unable to repeat its front-running pace from the round before in Australia - however Leclerc is more optimistic about its chances this weekend.

“I think in the race, we will be yes - but let's see,” Leclerc said when asked by media including RacingNews365 if he expects to be closer to Red Bull compared to Japan.

However, Leclerc raised concern over the behaviour of the car through sections where bitumen paint has been laid down.

“Obviously it's been a very long time since we [drove] here. I saw the track was painted or there was something strange on it.

“We’ll have to see how our car behaves on that and what the main limitations are in the race but on paper I think we should be closer to them.”

'Exciting challenge'

With China absent from the F1 calendar for the last five years, this weekend marks Leclerc's third visit to Shanghai.

His last outing at the circuit came during his first season at Ferrari, a race at which he crossed the line in fifth place.

The return of China also marks the first F1 Sprint event of the season - a scenario that will create an “exciting challenge” for the drivers, according to Leclerc.

“I have only raced twice here,” said the Monegasque. “But it's always been a very, very interesting track, a very nice track to drive on.

“[It's] a track where there are many, many different lines possible, especially in Turns 1, 2 and 3 and all those long corners.

“There are very different ways of taking those corners which makes it exciting for us.

“Having only one free practice before qualifying, we’ll have to find the best way as quickly as possible. But again, it's an exciting challenge.”

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