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"I was too greedy," admits Leclerc

NEWS STORY
25/04/2022

Charles Leclerc admits to being "too greedy" in his determination to claim back second place from Sergio Perez in the closing stages of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

A poor start which saw him lose out to Perez and subsequently Lando Norris meant the world championship leader spent the opening laps of the race in fourth.

Overhauling the McLaren on Lap 8, he then proceeded to close on Perez, whom he passed on Lap 18 when the Mexican made his first stop. However, both Leclerc and Verstappen pitted next time around and as a result the Ferrari driver dropped to third again.

On Lap 43, Ferrari made the decision to pit the Monegasque again and switch him to softs, for while the win appeared to be out of the question, there was still the point for fastest lap.

Though Norris didn't pit, the Red Bulls responded on consecutive laps, and once Leclerc had passed Norris he set off after Perez.

Closing on the Mexican, Leclerc went over the kerb at the Variante Alta on Lap 53 and subsequently brushed the barriers, damaging his front wing and flat-spotting his tyres, having dropped to fifth he subsequently had to pit.

Rejoining in ninth, he was able to overhaul Kevin Magnussen, Sebastian Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda in the final stages, finally crossing the line a distant sixth.

"It is a big shame," said the youngster. "Whatever happened before the spin it's how it is, it's part of racing you know, but I believe that the spin should not have happened today.

"I mean P3 was the best I could do," he continued, "we didn't have the pace for much more. I was too greedy and I paid the price for it and lost seven potential points compared to my third place I was before.

"It is a shame," he added, "it's seven points that are valuable at the end of the championship for sure. This shouldn't happen again."

The mistake compounded a dreadful day for Ferrari, having had Carlos Sainz punted off by Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap.

Nonetheless, mistakes aside, Leclerc doesn't believe a home win was on the cards.

"For sure, they seem to be more competitive than the first three races or similar to Jeddah," he said, "we had the upper hand in Bahrain and Australia, and they've had the upper hand this weekend and in Jeddah.

"It is very, very close, and I think it will be that way for the rest of the season and that is why every small mistake... today it was a big mistake but actually the consequence considering the mistake could have been much bigger. It's only seven points today but it could be more the next time, so I need to be careful for that."

"He was pushing very hard all race," said Christian Horner, "you could see at the top of the hill, at Turn 14 at the chicane, that was the one part of the track where he was consistently quicker than Checo and it just looked like he got a little bit too greedy on that soft tyre.

"Mistakes can happen," he added, "and he was actually lucky to finish the race and still get sixth place points. I think he was trying to get in the DRS zone of Checo, and to do that you need to be really quick over that chicane to get into the DRS detection zone before the last couple of corners. That was obviously what he was trying to get within.

"It was a bonus for us that we could take a few more points off them with him not finishing on the podium."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Imola, here.

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