After a challenging and chaotic race in Singapore, pole sitter Charles Leclerc finished P2 to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after suffering an insufficient race start that cost him the win. The Ferrari driver expressed some frustration after the race but also remained positive about the team’s overall race execution calling it a “step forward".
The last time Leclerc raced in Singapore was in 2019 when he started from pole but ultimately lost out to then teammate Sebastian Vettel. And although the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix ended with a similar result to that of 2019, the Monegasque insists that every race feels different.
“No, no, every race has a different feeling,” Leclerc said in the post-race press conference.
Leclerc also admitted that despite the strong pace and performance the F1-75 throughout the race, he was unable to recover from the bad restart and overtake Perez.
“But the frustration is there, obviously. I mean, the pace was really good today. Unfortunately, we had a bad start. And from that moment onwards, we were a little bit on the backfoot. I tried to put quite a lot of pressure on Checo But, but yeah, you overheat the tyres pretty quickly, and then you drop a little bit.
“So, it was very difficult to stay always in the gear box of Checo, but the performance was there. I also think that the choices we've made today were the right ones. And as I've said before, before this weekend, no, I want to use these last few races for us to get better on the execution of the race, especially.”
“And I feel like it's a step forward this this weekend. We need to do all the steps forward. But it's it's a good step in the right direction. And on that I'm happy. But of course frustrated with a second place today.
Although, Leclerc admitted his race start was the main factor to losing the race to Perez, the 24-year-old explained that that he’s unsure if it was a mistake on his part but that there was wheelspin that prevented him from executing a strong launch.
“Well, I don't I don't really know yet. Whether it's me who didn't mistake in, in the way I do things. Or if it's something else, we'll have to analyze it. The only thing I felt is that I had a little bit a bit of wheelspin, and then lost it and I saw Checo had an amazing start. So yeah, that's the way it went but it's like this.”
During the final stint of the race, Leclerc chased Perez till the last lap and said that it was a combination of losing DRS and his mistakes that caused him to lose the close battle to the Red Bull driver.
“Yeah, I mean, I was quite surprised because as soon as I lost the DRS I think it was exactly at a time well, so Checo’s tyres started to work properly. And unfortunately, then I lost it a little bit. But yeah, before that everything was really on the limit.
“I mean, with the dirty air in conditions like this the slightest mistake, you paid big time. So I did a few mistakes. I was just trying to be as close as possible because I had to make the basically the overtaking on the straight. I couldn't really go on the braking zone and break later because I didn't really know how was the track at the end inside.
“And I didn't want to take that risk. I had one lap where I was really close. And I actually thought about going in the inside and breaking later. But for me, it was not worth it. I was just waiting for the right opportunity. That unfortunately didn't arrive at the end.”
Despite Ferrari’s competitive performance all weekend, Leclerc acknowledged that ultimately Red Bull was superior to them on race pace and holding onto track position.
“Again, I think track position in Singapore is really, really important. And to be honest, I felt like we had a really good pace today. But having said that, I mean, it's our responsibility to do good stuff.
“And today, Red Bull have been better than us on that. But I don't think it's a tendency for us though. I mean, I think Carlos did a great start today. So we'll look we'll look at my side and try to make it better.