Charles Leclerc said his fight to keep his place on the podium at the end of the British Grand Prix was “on the limit”.
The Ferrari driver lost the lead of the race to his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr after Ferrari decided not to pit him during a Safety Car period. Sainz did come in and took on a new set of soft tyres which helped him to pass his team mate on worn hard rubber.
Leclerc then came under attack from Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez, who had also fitted fresh soft tyres during the Safety Car period. He defended hard but eventually lost position to both drivers and came in fourth.
The stewards noted multiple incidents during their fight, including one where Leclerc ran wide at turn 15, but eventually decided not to investigate any of them. Leclerc said the fight was “quite on the limit.”
“I had to be on the limit to try and and keep my positions,” he explained. “I don’t think I could have done much better than that. It was fun, on the other hand I was very frustrated.”
“In my position, I was on used tyres and all of this was very, very tricky,” he added. “So I just had to use everything that was possible.
“I was always checking that Lewis was a bit behind at the apex, to try and remember the rule and to play with the rules. So I tried to do my best.”
Leclerc successfully passed Hamilton around the outside of the high-speed Copse corner. The pair exchanged places at the same turn last year, where Hamilton also collided with Max Verstappen.
“It was incredibly tricky,” said Leclerc, “and actually as soon as I passed the corner I look in my mirror and I had a flashback of last year.”
Team principal Mattia Binotto gave Leclerc some encouraging words after the race but the driver admitted “the disappointment is big for me today.”
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a race. The first lap I broke the front wing and I thought that was over, there was quite a lot of understeer. Then I managed to play around with my toggles and I managed to have a bit more of a strong front.
“Then the pace came back and we were very strong and then the win was feeling more and more possible. Then obviously the Safety Car and that was it, so it’s frustrating.”
Having won two of the first three races, Leclerc hasn’t won since. He said his misfortune is “costing us a lot of points.”
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