Charles Leclerc acknowledges the need to better capitalize on opportunities that come his way, but insists his “very good” early season form has been overshadowed by the victory in Australia of his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz.

Leading up to the Melbourne race, starting from last year’s US GP in Austin, Leclerc had secured seven consecutive front-row starts.

This season, the Monegasque also showcased the potential of Ferrari’s SF-24 contender by often topping free practice.

However, a glitch in qualifying in Melbourne where he struggled with his car’s balance left him just fifth in the Saturday shootout, three spots behind Sainz.

On race day, Sainz’s flawless performance coupled with Verstappen’s DNF brought the Spaniard his third career win I F1. Meanwhile, Leclerc progressed to second but was unable to catch his teammate up ahead.

The 26-year-old collected a solid bag of points for his efforts, which completed Ferrari’s triumphant weekend, but that was little consolation for a young man who aspires to win above anything else.

“I mean, in our life I say that I am happy with that, of course not,” Leclerc said. “But wins are important, points at the end of the season are even more so.

“However, I want to win and I want to be back at winning as soon as possible.

“Carlos has done an amazing job in the two opportunities we had, and now it’s up to me to react and to hopefully win the next one. That’s the target, but I am working flat out for that.

“At the end of the day, I think in Formula 1 very quickly people tend to forget and everything is based on the last race. But if I look at my last eight, nine races, I think they have been at a very good level.

“However, in most of those races, the car was not possible to win. But it’s up to me to be there whenever there is the opportunity that arises.

“And the fact is that I haven’t been doing so in Singapore and in the last race. But I will keep pushing, of course. However, the fact that Carlos won’t be in Ferrari next year doesn’t add pressure or anything. My goal is always to try and win.”

Leclerc made clear that his relative shortfall in Australia was of his own making, starting with his mistake in qualifying.

“I think in qualifying it was very clear that it was just myself,” he added. “I’ve had some very, very good qualifying before that. I think it was the first seven rows in a row, which is a good thing. However, in Australia I didn’t do a good job on the Saturday.

“Then on Sunday I’m less worried. I think the second stint was quite a bit compromised by our race situation. We had to pit early because of Lando and Oscar at the beginning of the race.

“And then the second stint was very long, so of course it was a bit more difficult to manage that second stint. But I think that was more down to what I had done wrong on the Saturday.”

“And that there’s not much to say apart from that coming into every qualifying you try to extract the best.

“I tried something in Q3 that didn’t work out and it’s the way it is. I’m sure we’ll recover from that.”

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