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Leclerc rues poor start

NEWS STORY
03/10/2022

Charles Leclerc blames his poor getaway as the reason for him spending the Singapore Grand Prix staring at Sergio Perez' exhaust pipe.

Starting from pole, the Monegasque lost out to his Mexican rival before Turn 1, and despite his best efforts was never able to overhaul the Red Bull.

"The start wasn't good enough but then it was a really difficult race for us to overtake," he admitted. "We will look into the start because that is where we more or less lost the race. But it's part of the game."

Though he was able to maintain a steady gap to the race leader, and looking to benefit when DRS was finally activated late in the race, the Ferrari driver was never able to make a move that stuck.

Indeed, as his team spotted salvation in the form of a post-race penalty for Perez following a Safety Car infringement, the Mexican was able to extend his lead in a bid to cover the potential 5s time penalty.

"I was quite surprised because, as soon as I lost the DRS, I think it was exactly at the time when Checo's tyres started to work properly," said Leclerc. "Unfortunately, then I lost it a little bit.

"Before that, everything was really on the limit. I mean, in the dirty air, in conditions like this, the slightest mistake, you pay it big time. So I did a few mistakes.

"I was just trying to be as close as possible because I had to make basically the overtaking on the straight. I couldn't really go on the braking zone and brake later because I didn't really know how was the track, on the inside. And I didn't want to take that risk.

"I had one lap where I was really close, and I actually thought about going in the inside and braking later. But for me, it was not worth it. So I was just waiting for the right opportunity. But unfortunately it didn't arrive at the end.

"There's things that we can analyse from this race because Red Bull seems to be very, very good after six-seven laps, and we are very, very good in the first six-seven laps, so we'll look into that.

"I was pushing until the gap was like 1.5s, but then when I knew it was 5.1s I just kind of brought the car home, so the pace wasn't that representative at the end. Having said that, I pushed quite a bit at the beginning of the stint and probably my tyres were also a little overheated at the end."

"I think overall the car was working well on the wet, on the dry, yesterday in qualifying and today in the race," said team boss, Mattia Binotto. "We had been fast on dry when we switched to slicks. We had been brave to be the first switching to slicks.

"We went well on the wets and on the dries," he added, "and I think that's the most positive of the weekend."

Asked about the start, he said: "I think the start was not great. We lost position and that has affected the rest of the race. So had we had a better start, I think we would get a better result.

"Charles had a good reaction time," he added. "He went well in terms of procedures but later on, he had too much wheelspin because there was too little grip. But we'll review it as that affected the rest of the race."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Singapore here.

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