Mixed feelings for Leclerc as the wet setup almost ceded the podium to Imola

The fourth may have equaled Charles Leclerc’s best result in his last 15 Grands Prix, but while he was happy with another fine ending, part of him was disappointed that he did not reach the podium in one of Ferrari’s home races.

Ferrari opted to adjust their setup for qualifying, which favored the potentially wet conditions predicted for the race, and it turned out to be an inspired decision when the skies opened up before the start – and continued for them. first rounds.

READ MORE: Verstappen takes Hamilton and Norris victory in action-packed Grand Prix at Imola

Leclerc had an impressive pace and climbed into second place, with a good lead over Lando Norris and Sergio Perez, but saw that shattered when the race was neutralized with a red flag following the downfall of Valtteri Bottas and George Russell.

With the track drying out and the pitch closed, Ferrari’s wet setup left Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz exposed in the straights, and he was unable to hold back faster Norris and recover Lewis Hamilton, before finishing fourth, a place ahead of him. new teammate Carlos Sainz.

Charles Leclerc: Imola P4 and P5 show Ferrari is taking “ steps in the right direction ”

“I’m happy with the race, but at the same time a little frustrated,” said Leclerc. “The first part of the race we were very competitive and everything looked good. Then with the red flag, all the cars were overhauled and everyone was reconditioned. And then we started to be a bit vulnerable on the straights.

“We took a bet yesterday with the downforce, to be a little better if it was raining and it was, but unfortunately with the red flag we struggled to defend ourselves against the cars behind.

READ MORE: Verstappen and Hamilton disagree on whether they made contact during Imola’s crucial race start

With Ferrari with two cars in the top five, they kept the pressure on McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship fight for the P3, just seven points behind.

Leclerc is excited about their prospects, the team having finished a distant sixth in the constructors’ championship this year.

“I’m very happy and I think we should all be happy as a team,” Leclerc said of their relative performance. “We have come a long way and we are taking the right step in the right direction step by step and it looks good for the future. So for that, I’m very happy. There is still a lot of work to be done but this is what we are doing. “