Leclerc: Ferrari need to be perfect to beat Mercedes
Charles Leclerc believes Mercedes have been so strong this season that Ferrari would have needed to be “perfect” in every department to win the Japanese Grand Prix, which they failed to do.
Despite starting as the front two on the grid, with Leclerc in second and Sebastian Vettel on pole, Ferrari succumbed to defeat against Mercedes, with Valtteri Bottas winning at Suzuka to seal the title for the Silver Arrows.
The Monegasque driver, who finished sixth, says perfection was required from the team on the day, which wasn’t achieved.
“After the first lap, we knew it would be very difficult. I had a lot of fun overtaking but sixth is not the place I wanted to finish. I think strategy-wise we couldn't have done much better,” Leclerc said after the race.
“I think as Mattia [Binotto] said at the weekend, we need to do everything pretty much perfect to beat Mercedes because they are very, very strong.”
Leclerc’s assault on the race win never got going as he was involved in a collision with Max Verstappen on the first lap which cost both drivers dearly, with the Red Bull star retiring and Leclerc dropping down the pecking order after a forced pitstop.
The 21-year-old believes it was the chaotic start to proceedings which ultimately hampered his chances.
“We need to focus on that. The biggest problem today was the start and we need to focus on that.”
With Bottas winning and Lewis Hamilton finishing third, Mercedes gained enough points to win the constructors’ championship ahead of Ferrari.
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