Leclerc says Ferrari's pace 'not even close' to expectation

Ferrari has recognised failings with the design of its car and has embarked on a new path, promising aerodynamic updates for the third race of the season in Hungary.

Ferrari last won a drivers' title with Raikkonen in 2007 and was overall runner-up last season   -  Getty Images

Ferrari had warned its car was off the pace but Charles Leclerc said Saturday's qualifying for the season-opening Austrian GP was not even close to expectations.

The Monegasque was on pole at the Red Bull Ring last year but this time qualified seventh, his quickest flying lap nearly a second slower than Valtteri Bottas who took the top slot for Mercedes.

Leclerc's team mate Sebastian Vettel, a four-times world champion with Red Bull, failed to make even the top 10 and will start 11th.

"Unfortunately that's where we are at the moment, but we need to stay positive in these moments that are very hard to find any positives," said Leclerc.

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"We cannot get demoralised by today's result but today's result is not what we were expecting, we're not even close to where we expected to be."

Ferrari has recognised failings with the design of its car and has embarked on a new path, promising aerodynamic updates for the third race of the season in Hungary.

All three Ferrari-powered teams struggled at the Red Bull Ring, however.

Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen qualified 18th and 19th while Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were 15th and 16th.

Ferrari, which last won a drivers' title with Raikkonen in 2007, was overall runner-up last season but the legality of its engine was questioned.

It subsequently reached a confidential settlement with the governing FIA.

"There's no point denying that was a disappointing qualifying session," said team boss Mattia Binotto.

READ: Bottas pips Hamilton for pole at Austrian Grand Prix

"We knew the start of the season would be difficult for us and today's result certainly confirmed that to be the case, even more so than we had expected.

"We have to analyse very carefully every aspect of our performance and compare it to the opposition, trying to understand why there is this gap."

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