Charles Leclerc admits Red Bull “have upper hand” despite leading F1 title chase
As well as winning two of the first three races this season, Leclerc's rise coincided with troubles for Ferrari's rivals at the start of this season. Mercedes ' W13 design continues to have serious flaws, while Red Bull 's Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez each retired during the season-opener in Bahrain.
That's not the only DNF of Verstappen's season to date having also retired in Australia. However, it's sensible for Leclerc to raise caution over Red Bull considering the titleholder has won each of the three races he has completed this year.
“Well, I think we have been in only one position since the beginning of the season, which means we are hunted for now,” said Leclerc after finishing second in Sunday's Miami Grand Prix. “I quite like this position to be honest, because it means that you are doing something right.
"But it is also true that it’s two races that the gap is slowly closing down. But yeah, I don’t I don’t really mind, to be honest, whichever position I am in, I just want to be the most competitive out there. And at the moment, it seems that Red Bull has the upper hand in the races.”
One can see how the Prancing Horse's star driver might have arrived at that conclusion following Sunday's events. Verstappen started third on the grid behind Ferrari's pair, though it took him no time at all to move into second after overtaking Carlos Sainz.
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It wasn't until Lap 8 that Verstappen was able to use his DRS boost and move into first, a position he held for the remainder of the race in Florida. It appears Red Bull have overcome some of their early season struggles and are building a more formidable machine as the campaign progresses.
And yet Verstappen is not content with the RB 18 and has referred to Red Bull's car as "hit and miss" following his third win of 2022. He's also the first driver this season to win consecutive races after Red Bull applied their upgrades in the build-up to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last month.
Alarm bells should be ringing, however, as Ferrari prepare to apply their own improvements to the F1-75 ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix on May 22. Their specimen look outmatched for pace against its Red Bull equivalent in Miami, meaning Leclerc's hopes of retaining the lead could hinge on the imminent changes.