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Red Bull in a ‘league of their own’ says Ferrari’s unhappy Leclerc

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who crashed late in qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday to end in seventh place on the grid, sees no way that the Red Bull cars can be beaten in Sunday’s race.

“Unfortunately, absolutely not, the Red Bull is way too strong in terms of tire degradation so I think they will be in a league of their own,” Leclerc told reporters.

“I think if we can finish behind them it will already be a great achievement because the Aston (Martin) seems very strong too.”

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez is in pole position ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso with the other Red Bull driver, world champion Max Verstappen, starting in ninth place on the grid.

Perez and Verstappen have two wins each from the opening four Grand Prix races this season.

Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz was third fastest in qualification.

Leclerc was furious with himself after losing control through turn six and spinning out of control and into the wall—an incident that left Verstappen without the chance to post a strong final lap.

The Ferrari driver had a similar crash in practice on Friday and it was that repetition of mistakes that upset him.

“I think what is unacceptable is doing the same mistake in the same corner twice,” he said.

“I am really disappointed with myself. You can always find excuses in those situations, the wind was strong, the set-up was tricky, but I put myself in these conditions.

“Obviously this is a weekend where I have put it in the wall twice and this is just not the level where I want to be.”

Last week, Leclerc’s aggressive approach in qualification paid off with a pole position and he acknowledged that risk was part of his approach.

“I’m very hard with myself but I also know what are my strong points and what I can get on the other side taking this much risk,” he said.

“It is just very disappointing.”

Leclerc said that Red Bull’s domination this season was forcing him to take risks as they push for some way to close the gap.

“I am taking a lot of risks in Q3 to try and do something special because I know we are behind Red Bull at the moment but I also what has taken the upper hand this weekend is that I have a very aggressive set-up.

“I think it will pay off in the race for us but in qualifying it was just too much”.

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