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Leclerc ‘50% happy, 50% frustrated’ after narrowly missing out on first Ferrari win since 2019

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NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Second placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari celebrates on

For a while it looked like the stars might align and Ferrari might win at Silverstone on the 70th anniversary of their first ever F1 victory in 1951. But in the end Charles Leclerc had to settle for second place behind Lewis Hamilton, with the Monegasque driver saying afterwards that he’d given “200%” in the fight for first.

Having started fourth, Leclerc found himself in the lead when the red flags flew early in the race, having jumped Valtteri Bottas at the start and then profited from the coming together between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at Copse Corner.

REPORT: Hamilton overcomes first-lap collision with Verstappen to hunt down Leclerc for 8th British GP win

The Ferrari driver held onto the lead following the race restart, despite fighting both an engine issue and heavy pressure from Lewis Hamilton, but eventually succumbed with three laps to go after the Mercedes driver had roared back onto his tail.

Asked at what point the win was slipping away, Leclerc replied: “Not until Lewis passed me. Until then I believed I could win this race – and that’s the way it should be.

2021 British Grand Prix: Hamilton chases down and overtakes Leclerc in closing stages

“If I was thinking of being second before that it would have gone even worse. I believed in it until the last moment. Obviously I could hear my engineer telling me Lewis’s pace on the hard tyres, and I was like ‘that’s quick’. I was pushing 200% but obviously it wasn’t good enough to keep that first position in the last laps.

“I knew Lewis was on the inside and I left a space and unfortunately I had stayed in front but in the very end of the corner I got a snap and lost a little bit of time and Lewis got ahead of me.

“[I’m feeling] 50% frustration, 50% happiness. Obviously going into this weekend there was absolutely no hope of fighting for a win here at Silverstone. So this shows how great a job we are doing as a team. It’s not an easy situation for the team, but the team is working extremely well.

"We have shown that today with this second place and we’ve got to keep on working because that’s what we want to do consistently – fight for the win.”

2021 British Grand Prix: Race leader Leclerc complains of engine problems

Despite his frustration at missing out on the win, Leclerc conceded that this would go down as one of his best races in F1 so far, especially after battling with issues early on: “Yeah, I mean I was really on it every lap. I don’t think there was one lap where I did a big mistake.

“Especially in the first stint, with the problems we had with the engine, I thought my race was over. I had quite a few things to do on the steering wheel, but I think we managed the situation very well and we managed to diminish the engine cuts for the rest of the race.”

The podium was the first for Leclerc since his podium at the same track last year, and Ferrari’s first since Carlos Sainz finished second in Monaco.

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