Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has downplayed the Scuderia's chances of picking up a good result in its home Italian Grand Prix Formula 1 race.
Although a sell-out crowd is expected to turn out for the first Covid-19- free Italian GP for three years, Leclerc said that he is expecting a difficult weekend on a track which is not expected to suit the F1-75 machine.
After finishing third in the Dutch Grand Prix, Leclerc maintained that he was looking forward to the Monza meeting even if the squad's performance may be sub-par.
Leclerc: Everybody's improving
"[It's] not our best track, unfortunately, but anyway, I'm really looking forward to going there," Leclerc told media including RacingNews365.com of the circuit he took his second F1 win at in 2019.
"We always have a massive amount of support. And for that, I'm really looking forward to it.
"But I think the performance on paper will be a bit more difficult than this weekend," he added as he salvaged a third place finish late on.
While Ferrari's attention has been on trying to reel Red Bull back in, Leclerc also warned that the team must keep its eyes on the rear view mirror - and the Mercedes team.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ran strongly at Zandvoort - and were in with a legitimate shot of the win until their one-stop strategies were scuppered by the deployment of the Virtual and then full Safety Cars.
Leclerc also noticed Mercedes's quick pace, especially on the hard compound of tyre on which the Silver Arrows were much faster than Ferrari.
"I think everybody's obviously improving. But in the past races, we've been struggling more with the race pace," he continued.
"Now Mercedes is also in the fight, and they are very quick. They were extremely quick [at Zandvoort] especially on the harder compounds."
"I think our pace on the Softs was really good at the beginning. We had new tyres and Max was on new, so I think the difference was more or less what we expected.
"But then, on the new medium, we were slower than expected for sure."
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