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Leclerc says Ferrari have taken ‘good step forward’ after best result in five races

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SOCHI, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 on

Lance Stroll called Charles Leclerc’s driving on the opening lap in Russia ‘sloppy’, but there was nothing sloppy about the Ferrari driver’s performance over the next 52 laps as he came home in a solid sixth place – his best result in five races.

Leclerc had tangled with Stroll at Turn 4, the resulting contact pitching the Racing Point driver into the wall and leaving him gobsmacked as to why the stewards opted not to hand the Monegasque a penalty.

READ MORE: ‘Ridiculous he didn’t get a penalty’ – Stroll furious with 'sloppy' Leclerc after Lap 1 clash

But Leclerc, who started P10 and was P8 by the end of the first lap, didn’t let the incident affect him as he “maximised” his opportunity, ending up between the two Renault’s after jumping ahead of Esteban Ocon on strategy.

That left Leclerc extremely satisfied, especially after his disappointment at missing Q3 in qualifying.

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ONBOARD: Leclerc tips Stroll into crash at Russian GP start

“Very happy about today,” he said afterwards. “Again, from beginning of the season it’s difficult to be happy with P6, but it’s the way it is. We maximised what we had today.

“Yesterday I was frustrated about quali, but at the end I don’t think we could have done better, even with a better quali. So happy with the weekend, now we need to understand what we did different to be so much better in the race than Mugello, for example, but it’s a good step forward.”

READ MORE: Bottas eases to Sochi win over Verstappen as penalty leaves Hamilton P3

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P6 finish at Russian GP 'surprised' Charles Leclerc

Ferrari brought several aero updates to Sochi, and, even if Sebastian Vettel could only manage P13, Leclerc said it was clear they were making some progress in terms of boosting their competitiveness.

“We brought some small upgrades for this weekend, but I don’t think it’s the explanation of all the performance jump we have done.

“But it has definitely gone in the right direction and we should have a bigger upgrade for the next Grand Prix. We are working in the right direction so it should be good.”

With his eight points in Russia, Leclerc moves up one place in the drivers’ standings to P7, overtaking - you guessed it - Lance Stroll…

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