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F1 | Azerbaijan GP | Leclerc on his "very disappointing" DNF: "It hurts"

A second DNF in three events now leaves Charles Leclerc 34 points behind World Championship leader Max Verstappen.

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F1 | Azerbaijan GP |  Leclerc on his "very disappointing" DNF: "It hurts"
Fuente imagen: Scuderia Ferrari

For a third consecutive race, it was crushing disappointment for championship contender Charles Leclerc as he retired while leading the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Starting on pole, he was jumped by Sergio Perez off the line as the Mexican got a slightly better start and overtook at turn 1.

He stayed P2 – albeit under massive pressure from Verstappen – before boxing under a VSC as the marshals cleared the broken down car of his teammate Carlos Sainz.

Leclerc took the lead on lap 18 after both Red Bulls had opted to stay out behind the VSC and run a longer first stint.

However, heartbreak was to come just a couple of laps later as smoke came out from the back of his car and he was forced to retire.

While Leclerc looked set to struggle to beat Verstappen, another certain podium finish was lost.

The Ferrari driver was understandably deflated after the race.

“It hurts. I don’t really find the right words to describe [it]. Obviously it’s very disappointing.

“We really need to look into that for it not to happen again.”

Ferrari looked incredibly strong in terms of pace and reliability through the first five races of the season.

But two DNFs for Leclerc in three races – plus Sainz’s car breaking down as well today – suggests Ferrari face a very big problem on the reliability side.

When asked if Ferrari are pushing their car to the absolute limit to stay in contention with Red Bull, Leclerc was unsure.

“I don’t know. We’ve been fast and we didn’t have particularly big problems in the first part of the season; now it seems we have more compared to the beginning of the season.

“We didn’t change massive things – if anything we made the thing better. It’s difficult to understand for now. We will have to analyse. Obviously I don’t have the full picture of what happened today.

“But personally again it hurts.”

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