Leclerc brands COTA result ‘a little bit disappointing’ despite recovery from P12 to the podium
Charles Leclerc was left with mixed emotions after finishing third in Austin, as while the Ferrari driver was happy with his comeback performance, he was left frustrated by a tyre degradation issue that hampered his hopes of victory.
Leclerc started in 12th – after a 10-place grid penalty for going over his allocation on new engine components – and made a solid start, rising to second in his first stint. Leclerc then stole a march on his rivals by pitting under the Safety Car – caused by Valtteri Bottas spinning into the gravel – as he came back out in fourth.
He then pitted on Lap 35 for a second set of medium tyres, coming out in front of eventual race winner Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver would later overtake Leclerc for second, forcing him to settle for third. And while he was happy with his comeback, he was left to rue his issues with tyre performance.
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“I'm satisfied in a way because we started P12, so a podium is a good achievement, but looking at the race it’s obviously a little bit disappointing,” Leclerc admitted. “We had the pace but then we had a little bit too much deg towards the end of the race. But we will work and at the end, P3 starting from P12 is not that bad.
“It was nice, a nice battle with [Sergio Perez] and later on with Max. We need to keep working in order to challenge them a bit more towards the end of the races. Again, I felt like we were limited by the tyre degradation mostly.
Leclerc also called on Ferrari to be more “consistent” with their tyre performance, believing that they need to better understand their issues if they are to challenge for victories in the remaining races.
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“It’s little details here and there,” said Leclerc when asked about Ferrari getting on top of their issues. “We made it right sometimes, we made it wrong sometimes, but we just need to be more consistently on top of this, and for that we need to try and understand the dynamics of all of this, so that is the process we are going through at the moment.
“The pace is there. We’ve been strong all weekend but then towards the end we run of out tyres – and then it was difficult.”