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Whip Out the Hopium, Ferrari Just Gave us a Reason for Optimism at the 2023 Canadian GP

After a strong race day from Ferrari at the Canadian GP, have the team finally sorted out the gremlins and given fans hope for the rest of the season?...

Ferrari had a strong race at the Canadian Grand Prix and for many Ferrari fans it’s time to whip out the hopium and take a big huff. However, that may be a little presumptuous as Ferrari have always been able to deliver fans those little morsels of hope, before dashing them as quickly as they arrived.

It was a rare sight to see Ferrari making effective strategy calls in Montreal but after a poor decision in qualifying led Charles Leclerc to start in P10, it looked as if it was going to be the same old “clownshow” Ferrari in Canada. 

Carlos Sainz wasn’t making things much better with a three-place grid penalty for impeding Pierre Gasly in qualifying. 

So the stage is set. Leclerc P10, Sainz P11. The Tifosi will remember Leclerc’s uninspiring recovery attempt in Spain. Confidence isn’t high. 

But they pulled it off. 

After a nail bitingly long stint on the medium tyres, Sainz had climbed to P5 and Leclerc P4. Both drivers pitted to hard tyres and avoided the undercut from Perez just behind them in P6. 

And that was it. No further drama from Ferrari. No unexpected tyre degradation. No strange pit calls. No weird issues for Leclerc. 

Do Ferrari have the consistency from the SF-23 they need? Signs seem to be pointing towards “Yes” (but remember a Ferrari fan’s best tool, copium).

Leclerc said the one thing that stood out most to him was that the car felt the same on Friday as it did on Sunday, something that hasn’t been a matter of fact for the 2023 season. This contributed heavily to their strong performance in Montreal. 

“Where I’m most happy is that the good feeling that I had on Friday during the race simulations was confirmed today,” said Leclerc. “And in any of the compounds we put on, whether it’s on the medium or on the hard, we were quite competitive and the feeling was good.”

Leclerc didn’t say that all their problems have been solved, they still need to improve their overall performance, but for the time being, consistency may have been achieved. 

When asked how Ferrari needed to improve, Leclerc responded, “I think it’s just overall performance.”

“Where we were really struggling at the beginning of the season was consistency, and it was very difficult to understand,” he continued. “We would go from a medium tyre which was quite okay to a soft or hard tyre and then the car would fall apart completely.

“I went in quite a different direction this weekend in terms of setup, I felt a bit more at ease, and that gave me a bit more consistency on our compounds.” 

The issue that plagued Leclerc in Spain seems to have rectified itself in Canada. The team will surely have their fingers crossed that it doesn’t reappear. 

Carlos Sainz was even more optimistic about the race as he believed had their qualifying session not panned out as it did. 

“I think we had a strong race weekend,” said Sainz. “It’s a pity about quali yesterday because I think today we would have been in the mix with Mercedes and Aston Martin.”

Whether or not that’s true, it is fair to say that Ferrari had a strong race and achieved the best results they could have given the circumstances. It could always be worse…

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