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Fallen tree branch cost Leclerc Baku lead

NEWS STORY
07/06/2021

Charles Leclerc has revealed that a fallen tree branch was the reason he lost his early lead to Lewis Hamilton in Baku.

Making the most of his well-deserved pole position, Leclerc led the field at the end of the opening lap. However, next time around the Ferrari driver had dropped to second after appearing to make a mistake at the infamous Turn 15.

However, all was not as it appeared.

"It was starting to be quite OK in the first few laps," explained the Ferrari driver. "Then there was something that I think hasn't been seen on TV.

"There was part of a tree in the middle of Turn 15, and I actually lost quite a bit of time because I cut the track and I was a bit worried to gain time on Lewis behind who hadn't cut the track. So I slowed down and then he overtook me.

"From then on, it was quite difficult," he continued, "because I was behind Lewis in dirty air, which I struggled a little bit. As soon as I lost the DRS, Max overtook me and then you are just in a vicious circle that is very difficult, because I had cars all around me that had a bit more pace than I did."

Among the first to pit, having now been passes by Pierre Gasly and Calos Sainz, Leclerc emerged in tenth place. He subsequently worked his way back up to fifth before losing out to former Ferrari teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

After the restart he made his way back to third before being passed by Gasly again on the final lap.

"I really enjoyed the last part, but the first part wasn't great," admitted the Monegasque.

"Let's say it was expected," he said of the end result. "It wasn't a huge disappointment. We knew that Max, the Red Bulls and Mercedes had quite a bit more pace than us on the long run. I tried not to fight them too much and focus on my race.

"The two big surprises from today were the two Aston Martins that were flying and we need to understand that because they definitely did something right."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Baku, here.

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