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Leclerc: Ferrari still has high-speed weakness despite Austria F1 podium

Charles Leclerc thinks his Ferrari Formula 1 car still has a high-speed weakness that could be exposed at Silverstone after finishing second with his upgraded car in Austria.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ferrari brought another incremental upgrade to the Red Bull Ring with a revised floor and front wing.

The update was designed not only to add aerodynamic load but also make the SF23 more benign and increase its operating window, after struggling with tyre wear and race pace inconsistency on high-downforce circuits like Barcelona.

Initially the upgrade seemed to work as planned as Leclerc, who had qualified half a tenth off polesitter Max Verstappen, and Carlos Sainz showed improved race pace in Sunday's warmer conditions.

While Verstappen and Red Bull were still unmatched, Ferrari was easily the second-best team of the day as Mercedes and Aston Martin both struggled to keep up their recent form.

But second-place finisher Leclerc still remains cautious ahead of the British Grand Prix at high-downforce Silverstone, which could be the true test of whether or not Ferrari has turned a corner.

"This is the target, if not doing better," Leclerc said, when asked if Ferrari now has to confirm its progress next weekend.

"So yes, it is a very different track in Silverstone. And it's going to be very interesting to see where we are there, because I feel like maybe the weakness of the car now is still a little bit the high-speed corners.

"And in Silverstone, there are lots of high-speed. So, it will be good to see if this new package helps."

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, 2nd position, arrives in Parc Ferme

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, 2nd position, arrives in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Team-mate Sainz was less pleased after the race, as Ferrari double stacked him and Leclerc under the first round of virtual safety car pitstops rather than splitting the strategies, suggesting that Maranello's strategy improvements are still a work in progress.

But despite his frustration at finishing off the podium in fourth, which became sixth after further post-race track limits penalties, Sainz agreed that Ferrari's race pace looked much more solid.

"Yeah, I was very quick today, especially with the medium tyres," he said, when asked by Autosport if his car's performance was a silver lining.

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"I felt like we had a lot of pace. It's just a shame we couldn't use it fully, but is what it is. I think a double podium today was possible, especially with the pace I had.

"I'm just frustrated. It's been a few races that I have a lot of race pace in the car. I wish I could maximise it a bit more."

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