In the first corner of the Azerbaijan GP, Leclerc managed to hold on to his first position, but it was not long before Hamilton passed him. On the third lap, the world champion took advantage of the higher top speed of his Mercedes to pass Leclerc.
“Then I got quite surprised with that thing over there”
In the end, the Monegask had to settle for fourth place, as he lost a place to Pierre Gasly during the pit stops and Sebastian Vettel outsmarted him on track.
But when Leclerc looks back on his battle with Hamilton, he says he was forced to cut out Turn 15 – just like Max Verstappen – because there was a branch on the track.
Sebastian Vettel (L) is congratulated on his second place by Charles Leclerc.
“Yeah, that wasn’t great,” said Leclerc. “I have no idea what that was. I saw the slippery track in turn fifteen and then I was quite surprised with that thing over there. That meant I had to go out, then I slowed down not to gain time and unfortunately we lost it a bit there as we were overtaken by Lewis and then it was a bit more difficult in the ‘dirty’ air. So it’s a bit of a shame, but that’s not the reason for our fourth place anyway, we might have been overtaken a little later.”
Ferrari started the race with the idea that they could not compete with Red Bull and Mercedes, but Leclerc indicated that he was surprised by the good performances of AlphaTauri and Aston Martin.
“It was, shall we say, not a huge disappointment, rather it was as expected. We knew that Max, the Red Bulls and Mercedes had quite a bit more pace than us on the long runs, so I tried not to fight them too much, I just tried to focus on my own race.”
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