Leclerc defends late tyre change despite missing out on Turkish Grand Prix podium

By Sports Desk October 10, 2021

Charles Leclerc insists Ferrari's late decision to change tyres was the right one despite him ultimately missing out on a podium finish at the Turkish Grand Prix.

The Monegasque driver recorded a fourth-place finish for the fifth time this season, though he did close the gap on team-mate Carlos Sainz to just half a point in the battle for sixth in the Drivers' Championship.

After starting third on the grid, Leclerc took the lead at Istanbul Park when eventual champion Valtteri Bottas returned to the pits in lap 37.

However, the two-time Grand Prix winner was boxed himself 10 laps later to replace his used intermediate tyres.

That ultimately cost Ferrari in Turkey as Leclerc struggled to build pace with the new intermediates – as well as what would have been a ninth podium finish for the team.

Nevertheless, the 24-year-old maintains that he and his team have no complaints with the consequences of their decision.

"It was a great race. On the first stint, we were very, very competitive. Then unfortunately, we were a little bit out of phase with the others on the second stint, stopping later," he said.

"At first, in the first five, six laps of the others on the new inters, we were quicker than them on the used inters. 

"But after six laps, I think they cleared the graining, and then they found a lot of performance – around three seconds a lap – and then we had no choice, we had to stop.

"For the last 10 laps, I was just trying to switch on those inters that never really came to life. It's a bit of a shame because that made us lose the podium, but I don't regret anything.

"In Russia, I think the communication was not great, but this time the communication was very good. I had a clear picture of the race, and we did the right choice, or what we thought was the right choice at the time."

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