Ferrari star Charles Leclerc has put across a different view to Mercedes’ George Russell regarding their respective porpoising issues. Both drivers could be seen bouncing in Melbourne last time out and while the Silver Arrows did not have the pace to claim a victory, Leclerc did so in dominant fashion.
Leclerc and Russell have both acquitted themselves well so far this season under their own specific set of circumstances. Having benefitted from a huge leap in performance, Leclerc is the Championship’s runaway leader, while Russell is outperforming his iconic Mercedes team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, since making the move up from Williams.
But both teams are working hard behind the scenes to tackle porpoising, which has become a feature in the early days of F1’s new ground effect era. Still, its effects are clearly being felt more in one garage than the other.
Ferrari’s F1-75 could be seen bouncing up and down at Albert Park, but it did not stop Leclerc claiming a dominant Grand Slam victory of pole position, fastest lap, race winner and leading every lap. And Leclerc believes that even if the porpoising hadn’t been as bad, it wouldn’t have affected his speed.
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“I don’t know why, but I’m not very sensitive to it,” he said. “Of course I feel it. But it doesn’t bother me too much in terms of performance, only in Turn 9 maybe a little bit. I wouldn’t have been able to go any faster if I hadn’t had the bouncing.
“On the restart it was a bit difficult because I had it before Turn 1. That’s when you are not so sure on the brakes, but everything went well. But of course it’s not really comfortable to do 58 laps like that.
Come last Sunday, he still managed to pull off his first Mercedes podium ahead of Hamilton in fourth. Indeed, Mercedes’ solid reliability leaves them in a relatively healthy position in both the drivers’ and constructors’ standings, even if Ferrari enjoy healthy leads in both.
Leclerc boasts a 44-point buffer ahead of Russell on the individual front while the Prancing Horse are 39 points ahead of Mercedes, and although it is not quite Monza, Ferrari will still be on home turf when the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix gets underway next weekend.