Following a promising 4th place in qualifying, Charles Leclerc’s Sunday was far more difficult.
While the Ferrari driver managed to hold onto P4 at the start, it quickly became clear he didn’t have the pace to stay there as a train of Ricciardo, Albon, Norris and Perez quickly formed behind him.
Ricciardo overtook him on lap 9 as his soft tyres dropped off massively due to graining. He boxed soon after to change to a two-stop.
Ferrari and Leclerc decided not to pit under the Safety car late in the race after the nightmare first stint on the softs and risked staying out on the mediums, as he explains below. He did drop from 6th to 7th as Gasly overtook him following the resumption of the race/
“On the soft we struggled massively, which compromised [our race] massively, then we went for a two-stop strategy, which, I think, was the right thing to do. It was very tricky towards the end because with the Safety Car, I had old [medium] tyres to start again and they were very cold,” said Leclerc.
“On one side I wanted to try the softs but looking at the first part of the race, it was a disaster for us. We didn’t take a risk and we [re-]started on the medium.
“But I think we managed pretty well, so some quite good overtaking [moves], which were fun, but seventh was the best we could do today.”
Despite going backwards in the race and getting beaten by a Renault, Racing Point, McLaren and an AlphaTauri, Leclerc is happy with the progress Ferrari is making as they look to jump back to the front of the midfield next year.
“I am happy with the overall improvement we have seen in recent weeks. We are not yet where we want to be, but every small step is going in the right direction and this is what we need.”
Seventh today. Nice overtakes and I fought until the end but it wasn't enough. No regrets, I gave it all 💯 pic.twitter.com/YaREyi48av— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) October 11, 2020