Leclerc fully aware of support role


Even before the race, Charles Leclerc was aware that his role in the Singapore Grand Prix would be to support teammate Carlos Sainz.

Indeed, the Monegasque's decision to start the race on softs was all part of the plan.

"I pushed to start on the soft just to make sure that I was making the position straight away on George," said Leclerc at race end. "Since this morning things have been very clear. I changed my mind very last minute just to make sure that I was in front of George in the first stint because then it was really clear it was beneficial for Carlos.

"Obviously he was making the gap, but also for me because then that meant I could stop before Carlos and try and keep that second place."

However, like all best laid plans, neither Leclerc nor Ferrari had counted on a Safety Car (for Sargeant) and the disastrous (double-stacked) stop that followed, which dropped the youngster to sixth.

"Unfortunately, I haven't been very lucky with the Safety Car," he admitted. "That meant I had to wait inside the pits for traffic and I lost basically the race.

"All in all, the win was the priority today and we did a really good race management with the team."

Russell's unfortunate clash with the wall on the final lap meant that Leclerc inherited fourth, however the youngster believes that had he followed the example of the Mercedes pair and made a second stop it ultimately wouldn't have made any difference.

"On the hard I was trying to do the best, then as soon as George and Lewis passed me, it was all about bringing the car to the end. The car was overheating everywhere so the pace wasn't really representative, it was all about bringing the car to the end.

"With hindsight I don't think it would have changed much because the two Mercedes pitted," he continued. "At the end, on the radio, they told me to do the opposite of Lewis in front. Lewis went for the pits, so I had to stay out.

"Honestly, whether I would have come in or stayed out it would have been very, very similar. So I don't think it would have been a game-changer."

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Published: 18/09/2023
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