Leclerc 'disappointed' to miss out on Las Vegas victory but insists P2 'was the best' Ferrari could do
Charles Leclerc admitted he was disappointed to miss out on the victory but says second place was the best he could do at an “enjoyable” Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Starting on pole, Leclerc lost out at the start to Max Verstappen, but the Dutchman was given a five-second penalty for pushing the Ferrari racer off the track at Turn 1 – with Leclerc overtaking Verstappen for the lead a few laps later.
He dropped to third after swapping his medium tyres for the hards just before the Safety Car was called upon, with the marshals needing to clear debris from the track after Verstappen and George Russell collided.
Leclerc opted to stay out and take the lead while his rivals came in for some fresher rubber. He initially lost out to both Red Bull drivers but on the last lap of the race, he made his move past Sergio Perez to seal a well-earned second place.
“I mean what a race,” Leclerc reflected afterwards. “Honestly, I enjoyed it so much. I am of course disappointed to only finish second but at the end that was the best we could do.
“At the start it was very tricky because I think Max on the inside lost a little bit of the grip and rode me on the outside. But then we had the pace, we passed him back. We were really strong overall, so that was a really good race.
“We got a bit unlucky with the Safety Car. We didn’t pit because we didn’t know what the others would do. We went for track position and keeping that first place and that was difficult with the older tyres towards the end. Second place with a lot of fights, honestly, I enjoyed it.”
Asked how entertaining the race was for him, Leclerc responded: “Yeah, again I really enjoyed it and I think we needed it. Of course, the weekend didn’t start the way it had to start but I’m so happy that it ended that way.
“It’s such an incredible sport and there was no better race for the first race in Vegas. The energy around the city is incredible and just really, really happy and at least I really enjoyed today.”
Giving a last message for Ferrari fans in attendance, Leclerc added: “I’m sorry about the second place, I gave it my all. But on the other hand, I am sure that everybody had an amazing time looking at the race.
“I really really enjoyed it. We should have more races like that were the racing is like that because it was really enjoyable.”