Charles Leclerc: “It’s a shame that we lost out on a podium finish”
Charles Leclerc made a valiant attempt at claiming a second podium finish of the season in Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix, but the Scuderia Ferrari driver came up just short in fourth position.
Starting from third position but with a low downforce set-up that would have benefitted him had it been dry, Leclerc stayed out on track for a long time on his original set of intermediate tyres and took over the lead of the race.
However, those who had pitted ahead of him – Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez – all showed that fresh intermediates were the best option and were able to catch the Monegasque racer, and he ended up having to pit to avoid falling further down the order.
Leclerc admitted it was a shame to miss out on the top three at Intercity Istanbul Park, but he was pleased with the performance of his SF21 throughout the weekend.
“Overall, it was a positive race,” said Leclerc. “We were very competitive, especially in the first stint and the car felt good. We went long on the first set of Inters and once the rest of the field had stopped for the new set, we found ourselves to be quite a bit faster on the used ones.
“But after just a few laps, the other drivers started to clear the graining they were struggling with and found a lot of performance, so we knew we would have to stop too.
“We were a little out of step with the others on my stop that happened late in the race so we never got over the graining phase and couldn’t fight back. It’s a shame that we lost out on a podium finish, but the performance was there which is a positive.”
“I am starting to have a lot of fun with the car” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. was one of the stars of the race, with the Spaniard climbing from the back row of the grid to claim eighth place, which was not helped by a slow pit stop that cost him over six seconds.
Sainz had taken the new and upgraded Ferrari power unit for this weekend and as a result was handed a grid penalty that left him nineteenth on the grid, but within the first thirteen laps he had made significant ground and was already running inside the points.
The Spaniard believes that he could have finished even higher up the order but for the pit stop issue, but overall, he was delighted with his performance as he continues to further understand how the SF21 works.
“This was one of my best races, and probably my strongest with Ferrari!” said Sainz. “That first stint in those tricky conditions was very intense but good fun. I overtook at different parts of the track and using all kinds of lines, so I really enjoyed myself.
“It was a pity we had a problem during the stop, because the pit stop itself was fast, but we need to analyse why it took so long to release the car. Instead of coming out behind [Esteban] Ocon I would have come out closer to Lando [Norris], and during the last ten laps I was one of the fastest on track, so I feel we could have finished the race further up. Anyway, these things can happen and I definitely have a lot of positives to take from today.
“I am starting to have a lot of fun with the car and to understand it better and better, so I look forward to the upcoming races and to keep building momentum.”
© The Checkered Flag