Charles Leclerc was sitting fairly halfway by means of the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver trying well-placed to take a key victory heading into the summer season break. However Leclerc blamed a choice to modify to the exhausting tyres for seeing him plummet down the order and are available dwelling P6 on the flag.
Beginning P3 on the grid, Leclerc confirmed stronger tempo than second-placed workforce mate Carlos Sainz early on within the race, Leclerc overcutting the Spaniard within the stops earlier than passing the Mercedes of pole-sitter George Russell for the lead on Lap 31 of 70.
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However a second cease, and a swap to the exhausting tyre, appeared to undo all of Leclerc’s exhausting work, as he struggled to heat up the white-walled rubber, the Monegasque damning the tyres as “s***” earlier than falling behind eventual winner Max Verstappen and down the order – a late swap to softs seeing him emerge within the P6 place he’d finally end in, as Sainz additionally misplaced out to the Mercedes pair to complete fourth.
“I’m very, very upset clearly,” mentioned Leclerc, who began on the mediums together with Sainz, as Russell took softs. “The tempo was actually good on the medium tyres, the second stint additionally [on mediums] every thing was underneath management after which we determined to cease on the hards.
“I don’t precisely know what are the explanations behind this resolution but, however we’ll communicate with the workforce for me to grasp, however clearly it wasn’t the precise resolution. And I made it clear that I felt good on the medium, so I don’t precisely know what occurred.”
Requested why his tempo had dropped off so drastically, in the meantime, Leclerc countered: “Truthfully, the tempo on my facet, I used to be fairly completely happy, the one factor is that everyone will keep in mind the final a part of the race the place it was a catastrophe for me, particularly the exhausting – that’s why I misplaced the race mainly: I misplaced 20 seconds with the pit, one other possibly six seconds on 5 laps on the hards as a result of I used to be simply everywhere with that tyre. Sure, that’s the place we misplaced our race.”
The Hungarian consequence signifies that Leclerc has seen the rostrum simply as soon as up to now eight races – when he received the Austrian Grand Prix – and has accrued simply eight factors to Verstappen’s 50 up to now two.
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And requested if that was a blow forward of the summer season break – with racing resuming in Spa on the finish of August – Leclerc replied: “Sure, however alternatively I really feel very motivated and I simply wish to get again within the automobile and win once more.
“So sure, in the present day hasn’t been good, the final Sunday hasn’t been good, however total the tempo is there. We simply must get higher at placing every thing collectively as a result of it at all times felt like there’s one thing going unsuitable, and we have to get on high of this… by talking with the workforce clearly, and first understanding our errors, after which getting higher.”
Though Leclerc holds on to P2 within the drivers’ standings heading into the summer season shutdown, the Ferrari driver has now fallen a full 80 factors behind Verstappen.