Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was left with mixed feelings after narrowly missing out on his third Grand Prix win after leading nearly all of today’s British Grand Prix.
The Monegasque, who started fourth on the grid, found himself in the race lead after both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided into Copse corner on Lap 1, with Leclerc picking up the lead after Hamilton slowed on the exit of the corner.
After the race was stopped to repair the barrier at Copse, Leclerc restarted the race in the lead and got the perfect launch off the line to lead the restarted race.
However, Leclerc hit trouble with his engine cutting out at high speed, caused by an engine mapping issue with the Ferrari pit wall coaching Leclerc to overcome the issue.
Nevertheless, Leclerc was undeterred, and by the completion of his pitstop on Lap 30, he had a clear track in front of him as well as his race lead over Valtteri Bottas intact.
But it wasn’t to be for Leclerc, as Hamilton charged through the order to catch the Monegasque with three laps to go. Despite his best efforts at trying to defend from the current World Champion, Leclerc went wide into Copse and lost the lead to Hamilton and settled for second.
When speaking to Formula 1.com after the race, Leclerc stated that he didn’t feel the victory was slipping away until Hamilton passed him into Copse, with the Monegasque telling of how hard he was pushing.
“Not until Lewis passed me. Until then, I believed I could win this race – and that’s the way it should be. If I was thinking of being second before that, it would have gone even worse. I believed in it until the last moment. Obviously, I could hear my engineer telling me Lewis’s pace on the hard tyres, and I was like ‘that’s quick’. I was pushing 200% but obviously, it wasn’t good enough to keep that first position in the last laps.”
“I knew Lewis was on the inside and I left a space and unfortunately I had stayed in front but in the very end of the corner, I got a snap and lost a little bit of time and Lewis got ahead of me.”
Despite this narrow defeat, Leclerc talked of how pleased he was with the upward trajectory shown by the Scuderia since the beginning of the year, whilst having mixed feelings after narrowly missing out on his first British Grand Prix victory.
“[I’m feeling] 50% frustration, 50% happiness. Obviously going into this weekend there was absolutely no hope of fighting for a win here at Silverstone. So this shows how great a job we are doing as a team. It’s not an easy situation for the team, but the team is working extremely well. We have shown that today with this second place, and we’ve got to keep on working because that’s what we want to do consistently – fight for the win.”
“Yeah, I mean, I was really on it every lap. I don’t think there was one lap where I did a big mistake. Especially in the first stint, with the problems we had with the engine, I thought my race was over. I had quite a few things to do on the steering wheel, but I think we managed the situation very well and we managed to diminish the engine cuts for the rest of the race.”