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Leclerc wasn't confident he could catch Vettel after pit stop

  • Published on 01 Sep 2019 19:34
  • comments 2
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Charles Leclerc admits he wasn't confident that he could catch teammate Sebastian Vettel following his pit stop.

After leading throughout the opening stint of the race, Leclerc found himself behind Vettel following his pit stop, as Vettel executed an undercut by pitting five laps earlier than Leclerc.

Leclerc didn't think there would be a big advantage with his fresher tyres, however he was quickly able to close Vettel down before the team instructed Vettel to let the Monegasque driver by. 

"When I came out behind Sebastian, I was not confident that the degradation was that much on the medium that I could actually catch him," Leclerc stated. 

"But after two or three laps there was quite a big delta pace and I was like 'Okay, I don't think we will lose time together', which is exactly what we didn't do."

At the end of the race, Leclerc came under major pressure from Lewis Hamilton, who was more comfortable on the medium compound than Leclerc. 

"And then towards the end I was checking my mirrors, my engineer was telling me the gap every lap to Lewis," Leclerc reflected. "He was very quick, on the soft I was more comfortable, on the medium I was struggling more.

"I was trying to focus on my own job and bring the car as quickly as possible to the end. But it was very close. One lap more, it would have been difficult to keep Lewis behind."

'Challenging' to race after Hubert's death

Leclerc's victory marks his first in Formula 1, finally clinching the top spot after coming close on several occasions this year.

However, the win comes at a difficult weekend for motorsport, following the death of Anthoine Hubert on Saturday, which Leclerc says made the race extra challenging. 

"For me, it was definitely the first situation where we lose someone on a track that you need to race [on] the day after," Leclerc said. 

"So it's obviously quite challenging to then close the visor and go through the exact same corner at the same sped you did the day before.

"But that's what you need to do in the end. So that's what I tried to do best today," Leclerc concluded.

Replies (2)

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  • f1ski

    Posts: 549

    this is veiled way of questioning if management duped him. My biggest question was did MB turn up the power for lewis in the last laps id like to see the speed trap numbers on the MB in those last laps .I wonder also did Ferrari make any changes to help with tire wear

    • + 0
    • Sep 1 2019 - 20:46
    • 's a good question, and I think MB did turn it up a notch. After all, this wasn't a very hot day, and they were already down on power (in some traps -12 km/h compared to Ferrari), and they ran fresh PUs, so they could probably afford running higher modes to catch Ferrari further. As to whether Ferrari is trying to solve their tyre wear: most likely, but clearly they haven't done enough. Leclerc managed his tyres well, but I think him being in the lead and also pitting later helped him, while Vettel clearly couldn't make his tyres last (and one can say a lot about Vet, but he can manage tyres).

      • + 0
      • Sep 1 2019 - 20:57

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