Ferrari fearful of Mercedes and Red Bull as Charles Leclerc's title prospects played down

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Ferrari claim they are still concerned a resurgence from Red Bull and Mercedes could steal their F1 crown. The Prancing Horse have made a superb start to the new season with Charles Leclerc scoring two wins from the first three races.

The Monegasque leads the drivers’ standings by 38 points having picked up 71 of the 78 available. Leclerc looked to be set for a title battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen but two retirements have left the Dutchman sixth in the standings and more than 40 points behind.

However, Ferrari has claimed they are not writing off anyone yet in a title battle which still has 20 races to go. Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz has warned Red Bull and Mercedes have “outdeveloped” the Italian marque over the last few seasons.

He claimed the two teams “know how much you need to improve” to get involved in the fight and warned Ferrari were “lacking experience”. The Italian squad has not been involved in a title battle since 2012 and last lifted a drivers’ crown back in 2007.

READ MORE: Lewis Hamilton backed to ‘step up another level’ in warning to Ferrari

Sainz added the team were “still cautious” and would just see what happens as the season develops. All three top teams are expected to bring some minor upgrades to Imola to increase performance.

Larger updates have been delayed due to the nature of the Sprint race weekend with just one practice session before qualifying on Friday. Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles has warned upgrades will come as the European season gets underway, warning Mercedes has not yet given up on a title charge.

He said: “When we get back to the European season, teams will generally bring more performance upgrades. So I suspect you will see an evolution of our competitors and we need to make sure we, at the very minimum, keep up with that.

“The work that takes place now is a review of what has happened in Melbourne and an understanding of what we need to do going forward into Imola, and progress the car into a championship winner.”



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