Inconsolable Leclerc says he was ‘**** when it mattered’ after last-lap mistake loses him podium spot
Podium finishes have been extremely hard to come by this year for Ferrari, so you could understand Charles Leclerc’s pain when, after driving a brilliant race from P12 on the grid to P2 in Turkey, he gave away the podium position altogether with a mistake three corners from the flag.
Having made progress up the order early on, Leclerc’s race was transformed when he fitted a second set of intermediates on lap 30 and vaulted into podium contention in what had been a mixed-up, action-packed race.
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After passing team mate Sebastian Vettel for P3, the Monegasque then hunted down Racing Point’s Sergio Perez for P2 over the closing stages – and when the Mexican made a mistake on the final lap, Leclerc snuck ahead.
But as the battling duo approached Turn 12 for the final time, Leclerc locked a wheel and ran deep allowing not just Perez but Vettel to sneak past and condemn him to a bitterly disappointed fourth place.
And afterwards Leclerc was brutal assessing his own performance, yelling over team radio “I did a **** job. I am so sorry to the whole team, I am ****** stupid.”
The 23-year-old’s disappointment had barely subsided when he faced the media moments later.
“Unfortunately in the last corner, nothing to say, in the last three corners. In the end, the end result counts. I was good for one part of the race but **** when it matters and that’s it. Fourth. I’m so disappointed.”
WATCH: Onboard with Vettel as he goes from P11 to P4 on action-packed opening lap
When it was put to him that he’d attacked, as a racing driver should, Leclerc replied: “Yeah, but still… I’m so disappointed.”
Even with his obvious upset, Leclerc still found time to congratulate Vettel over team radio on a day when Ferrari picked up 27 points – their biggest haul of the entire year.
“Now that I’ve calmed down, congratulations to Seb – he deserves it. It’s not been a good year for him. Even if I’m so ****** off with myself, he’s done a great job and I hope he will enjoy it.”
Leclerc can console himself with a third top five finish in a row, which takes him ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the standings – though he stays in P5 having been passed by Perez.