"This one hurts," admits Leclerc after double DNF for Ferrari


If ever there was a case of 'zero to hero', Ferrari's 2024 Canadian Grand Prix was a prime example.

Two weeks after the Scuderia finished first and third on the streets of Monaco, neither driver made it to the flag in Montreal, after the Maranello outfit opted to retire Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz crashed out.

The race had barely started when Leclerc was warned he had an engine issue. During the Safety Car period that followed Logan Sargeant's crash, the Monegasque made a long pit stop during which the engine was reset.

"We had an issue on the engine which meant we lost around 80 horsepower for about 15 laps," confirmed team boss Frederic Vasseur. We were hoping for a red flag to be able to do a reset and restart," he added. "But there was no red flag, so we had to pit which cost us a lap and effectively that was the end of Charles' race."

Indeed, Leclerc rejoined in last position, and as the Monaco winner found himself being lapped by the leaders the decision was taken to retire him. Before the decision, the youngster had made the brave decision to switch to slicks, but no sooner had he done so than it started to rain again.

"Honestly, there's not much more to say apart from the engine issue cost us everything," said Leclerc at race end. "The bottom line today is that the engine issue is what compromised our race.

"Then at one point we decided we tried to go on the slicks," he continued. "We were losing substantial lap time compared to the other cars, so we tried to go on slicks, knowing that it was our only chance to try to finish in the points.

"We knew there would be a greater chance it wouldn't work, but we had to try something," he admitted. "With the engine issues we had, we would have been out of the points anyway. That was it really, there was nothing to lose. I've got no regrets about that.

"After that it was just extremely tricky to do all the engine changes that the team was asking me at the same time. We were still losing a second and a half on the first straight.

"We've got to look into the engine issue," he warned, "because that's going to be tricky for the rest of the season. So as much as we didn't overreact after Monaco, we shouldn't overreact after this one. But this one hurts.

"It's big points for the team with the two cars DNF," he sighed. "We are going to lose out against our competitors. But we shouldn't overreact with the pace of the car. I mean, you've got good weekends, you've got bad weekends.

"Yesterday we missed Q3 by three hundredths. We were definitely not feeling good with the car. We've got to work on that and try to understand what went wrong.

"Today I wouldn't say the pace was bad," he insisted. "If you look at the first stint with a second and a half slower engine, I think we weren't that bad in corners. We were strong."

Running just outside the points, teammate Carlos Sainz' race came to an end when he clipped the kerb at Turn 6 sending him sliding across the track into the path of a hapless Alex Albon.

"The entire race was on the edge," said the Spaniard, who has incurred damage earlier in th race when he ran into the back of Valtteri Bottas, "and when I tried to push in the DRS train to overtake I made a mistake on the kerb, and for that I want to say sorry to the team and to Alex.

"A race to forget for the team," he added. "We knew today was going to be difficult because we have been struggling all weekend with grip and car handling.

We have work to do ahead of Spain to understand what has happened this weekend and make sure we don't find ourselves in this situation again. We move on."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Montreal here.

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Published: 13/06/2024
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