Leclerc frustrated by safety car finish after Verstappen spoils Ferrari homecoming

By Sports Desk September 11, 2022

Charles Leclerc expressed his frustration at finishing under the safety car as Ferrari's hopes of a home success at the Italian Grand Prix were shattered by Max Verstappen.

Leclerc began on pole for the eighth time this season after a strong qualifying performance on Saturday, but was subjected to a familiar sinking feeling at Monza as Verstappen brushed aside his pre-race five-place grid penalty.

The defending world champion – who could now seal successive titles at Singapore next time out – took advantage of another Scuderia gamble to power home, as Ferrari subjected Leclerc to an early change of tyres.

A late safety car brought on by Daniel Ricciardo's retirement then left Leclerc to sit behind Verstappen as the chequered flag approached, much to the frustrations of a partisan crowd in Italy.

The Monegasque driver made his frustrations clear over team radio as he awaited a restart which never came, shouting: "Come on! It's clear," and was still agitated after the race.

"The end was frustrating. I wish we could have ended up racing. It's a shame," he told Sky Sports.

"I gave my all, but we got P2 today. I wish I could've won in front of the amazing Tifosi we have here, I just couldn't today."

Red Bull's team principal Christian Horner also believed the race should have been allowed to restart, telling Sky Sports: "We don't want to win a race under a safety car.

"That's something that we've talked about for many, many years, that they should finish racing. There was enough time to get that race going."

Verstappen now boasts a 116-point lead over Leclerc in the drivers' championship standings, while Ferrari trail Red Bull by 139 points in the team rankings, with a series of high-profile mistakes from the Scuderia costing them dearly this campaign.

But Leclerc refused to hit out at the team's strategy when discussing his early pit stop, adding: "We didn't know what they [Red Bull] were going to do behind so we took that choice. 

"Obviously we finished P2, so I'm not happy with the race. We will work on that.

"I don't know, the pace was strong. We will have to look into it, but I think we were quite strong. It just wasn't enough."

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    Sergio Perez has apologised following a second successive retirement at the Canada Grand Prix which left him 87 points behind Red Bull team-mate, Max Vertsappen.

    The 34-year-old remained fifth overall in the world championship and a point behind Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who was one of five drivers that failed to finish the race. 

    In difficult conditions in Montreal, the Mexican started 16th but hopes of climbing up the pecking order soon faded after damaging his car's front wing on the opening lap when he made contact with Alpine's Pierre Gasly.

    He then crashed into the barriers late in the day after losing control on a damp kerb at turn six, hobbling back to the pits with a broken rear wing. 

    "I'm very sorry for my team, I let them down today. But we will come back no doubt. There’s a very long way to go," Perez said on social media.

    His final incident cost him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Barcelona, with the stewards punishing him for a breach of the safety rules that require a driver to stop if the car is unsafe.

    "The incident was on me, I touched the wet part into turn six and I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t touch the brakes," Perez said on Sunday.

    "It has been a very tough couple of weekends, we will regroup, keep our heads down and learn from the weekend. We identified a couple of issues after qualifying and they meant we would have qualified a lot higher.

    "Hopefully we can be back to our form in Spain and get back to the level we were at earlier in the season. I am confident in that, there are good tracks coming for us."

    Perez recently signed a new two-year deal with Red Bull, ending speculation that the world champions will sign free agent Sainz ahead of the new season. 

  • We will be back says Perez following Canadian Grand Prix We will be back says Perez following Canadian Grand Prix

    Sergio Perez has apologised following a second successive retirement at the Canada Grand Prix which left him 87 points behind Red Bull team-mate, Max Vertsappen.

    The 34-year-old remained fifth overall in the world championship and a point behind Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who was one of five drivers that failed to finish the race. 

    In difficult conditions in Montreal, the Mexican started 16th but hopes of climbing up the pecking order soon faded after damaging his car's front wing on the opening lap when he made contact with Alpine's Pierre Gasly.

    He then crashed into the barriers late in the day after losing control on a damp kerb at turn six, hobbling back to the pits with a broken rear wing. 

    "I'm very sorry for my team, I let them down today. But we will come back no doubt. There’s a very long way to go," Perez said on social media.

    His final incident cost him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Barcelona, with the stewards punishing him for a breach of the safety rules that require a driver to stop if the car is unsafe.

    "The incident was on me, I touched the wet part into turn six and I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t touch the brakes," Perez said on Sunday.

    "It has been a very tough couple of weekends, we will regroup, keep our heads down and learn from the weekend. We identified a couple of issues after qualifying and they meant we would have qualified a lot higher.

    "Hopefully we can be back to our form in Spain and get back to the level we were at earlier in the season. I am confident in that, there are good tracks coming for us."

    Perez recently signed a new two-year deal with Red Bull, ending speculation that the world champions will sign free agent Sainz ahead of the new season. 

  • Canadian Grand Prix 'an opportunity missed', admits Russell Canadian Grand Prix 'an opportunity missed', admits Russell

    George Russell secured Mercedes their first podium of the Formula One season at the Canadian Grand Prix, but felt his third-place finish was a missed opportunity.

    The British driver was on pole for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2022 and led for the first 21 laps before being overtaken in quick succession by McLaren's Lando Norris and eventual winner, Max Verstappen. 

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    He dropped to fourth behind Oscar Piastri, but would reclaim a podium place with his fresh medium tyres for the closing laps, enough to get past the Australian and team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who were on the hard compounds.

    Red Bull's Verstappen claimed his sixth victory of the season, extending his championship lead over Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to 56 points after a weekend to forget for the Italian team. 

    Speaking after the race, Russell believed he had the pace to catch the Dutchman before his coming together with Piastri, but enjoyed being back at the front of the pecking order despite admitting to a few mistakes. 

    "It feels like a missed opportunity, to be honest," said Russell shortly after the conclusion of the race. "We were really quick at the beginning of the race on the inters, and then obviously Lando came through really fast.

    "Then we got back on to the slicks, made a couple of mistakes out there just pushing the limits and paid the price for it.

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