Leclerc: 'The only thing that matters is that we beat Mercedes'

Leclerc: 'The only thing that matters is that we beat Mercedes'

25-11-2023 16:50

After earning five pole positions during the 2023 season, Charles Leclerc was unable to make it a sixth as he lost out to Max Verstappen, meaning the Ferrari drivers will start Sunday's race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in P2.

Throughout 2023, the Monegasque driver has always shown great one-lap pace behind the wheel of his Ferrari. But in the final qualifying session of the 2023 Formula 1 season, Leclerc could not outpace the 2023 World Champion and his rapid Red Bull around the Yas Marina Circuit.

Leclerc focussed on Mercedes, not Verstappen

With a P2 start, the 26-year-old will hope his Prancing Horse can spring one last surprise and take victory at the final race of the season. But, speaking in the drivers' press conference after qualifying, Leclerc was only focussing on one thing.

"I don't know whether I can challenge Max. The only thing that matters to me is that we challenge the Mercedes and that we take second place in the Constructors’ [championship] because in the drivers' [championship], I don't care if I finish fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh. But second in the Constructors will be nice. So, we just need to beat the Mercedes.

"Strategy-wise, I don't know what the Mercedes are going to do, so I'll just focus on myself, and then we'll try to do the best race we can and we'll see who gets the second place at the end of the weekend."

"Of course, if there's an opportunity to beat Max tomorrow, I'll take it. However, on a track like this, with hot conditions like this, I expect us to struggle a bit more than Las Vegas and what we've seen in Vegas in race space. So, but let's see. We've been good with time management in Vegas in very different conditions."