Charles Leclerc says Ferrari’s main rivals have yet to show their true performance in pre-season testing, believing Mercedes and Red Bull are both “sandbagging”.
The first week of testing came to a close on Thursday with no real indication as to who stands out as early title-favourites.
Leclerc topped Tuesday’s timesheets a day after team-mate Sebastian Vettel led the field on day one, but Mercedes and Red Bull prioritised milage on the opening three days.
Despite finishing behind both Mercedes’ in Thursday’s running, Leclerc is adamant Ferrari’s rivals are holding back.
“The performance has no sense for now because it’s testing, they are not pushing and we are not either,” Leclerc said, as quoted by Autosport.
“We don’t know how much the others are sandbagging. So, we’ll see at the first race.
“The main importance for this test is to do the programme of the day and that’s what we’re doing, so we’re happy.”
Ferrari’s performance in testing has caught the eye of many in the paddock, with Valtteri Bottas admitting the Italian outfit is ahead of Mercedes.
Vettel sang his praises after day one, stating the team had been close to “perfection”, but Leclerc is eager for Ferrari to push its testing programme further.
“As Seb said it doesn’t feel like a new car,” he said. “It feels like it’s already quite an established car.
“We need to keep pushing. The other teams are sandbagging. We need to see how much they are, but we are pretty happy with the car at the moment.
“I already feel quite at ease with the car. There’s still a lot I need to get at ease with but already the feeling is very good.”