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Leclerc 'didn't push' after making first pit stop

  • Published on 29 Apr 2019 09:20
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Charles Leclerc has played down his apparent lack of pace after he made his first pit stop during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver started the race on the medium compound, taking the yellow-walled tyres all the way to lap 35 before coming in to switch onto the softs.

However, Leclerc had already been overtaken by Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and teammate Sebastian Vettel before making his stop, while they had pitted some 20 laps prior.

Leclerc says he didn't push after making the stop as his team informed him that the gap to Max Verstappen, who occupied fourth place, was too big.

"Well I think a lot of people thought we were struggling, which I don’t think we were, because I just didn’t push to try and close the gap,” Leclerc said.

“I asked on the radio pretty earlier in this run whether there was any possibility to come back to the guys in front, and the answer was no because the gap was too big.

“From that moment onwards it was just about trying to keep the tyres and try to push for the fastest lap when I had the opportunity to do so.

“Don’t look at the pace from when we put the softs, it’s not our real pace; we were just trying to do the best lap.”

Fifth the maximum result

The former Sauber driver thinks that a fifth-place finish was the maximum he could've achieved following on from his crash during qualifying on Saturday, which put him out of contention in Q3.

"Obviously when I’m looking at FP1, FP2, FP3 and quali, even though obviously FP1, FP2, FP3 is not very representative, I am disappointed because I felt great in the car,” he said.

“I think in the car there was definitely the potential to get pole position and I threw all our chances away by touching the wall.

“It is my mistake, I take the responsibility. It was the best we could do from there. It’s a bit disappointing, but on the other hand I think there are some positives to take away from the weekend.

“I think quali pace was definitely stronger than China and race pace was also very close to Mercedes. Now we look forward, and I’m pretty sure we will come back even stronger in Barcelona.”

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20 - Mar 22
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17 - Apr 19
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1 - May 3
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21 - May 24
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20 - Mar 22
3 - Apr 5
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17 - Apr 19
1 - May 3
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21 - May 24
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5 - Jun 7
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
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26 - Jun 28
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