Reliability seems to have eluded Ferrari the last few weekends. This is especially true for Charles Leclerc, who has had a miserable time in the last three races. Not only has he retired twice, but both of these retirements have come in the lead – and on weekends where Ferrari have looked very much in the mix.
In Spain, he was comfortably in the lead when he retired on lap 28. In Azerbaijan, he and teammate Carlos Sainz both retired from mechanical problems. Even the one weekend where he did not retire, Monaco would have left a very bitter taste in his mouth. Charles Leclerc was poised for the victory if Ferrari did not make an error with his strategy – and Red Bull didn’t completely outsmart them, which meant that Sergio Perez would take his first victory of the season.
Following the retirement in Azerbaijan, Leclerc has finally been forced out of the components pool. He will be taking a penalty in this weekend’s race, which means he will start 11th at the maximum, but even that might be unlikely as Max Verstappen has looked pretty strong this weekend.
Charles Leclerc does not feel Ferrari are too far off from Red Bull
After his retirement in Azerbaijan, Charles Leclerc‘s Control Electronic unit has now been judged to be irreparable. He has already used two this season, and that means he will be taking a third Control Electronic, and incur a 10-place grid penalty. In FP1, he finished 5th, 5 tenths from the top, and in FP2, he improved, finishing in second, around 0.081s behind Max Verstappen.
Aside from the CE unit, he has also taken a new MGU-K and an MGU-H. Having to take engine penalties never helps in a championship charge, but it is the situation Leclerc is currently in, and for now, he feels that they’ve made the best decision to replace the component in Canada.
Despite the grid penalty, Charles Leclerc thinks that Ferrari are fairly on pace with Red Bull, which means that even if he may not be to take victory in this race, he can still take a solid haul of points with him. As reported by PlanetF1, Leclerc said:
“It is pretty close. The race pace we need to work on – I mean it’s a bit difficult to have a clear picture because I was on a different compound all the time but overall, it didn’t look too bad so that’s good.”
Leclerc’s teammate, Carlos Sainz had finished FP2 in third place, around 0.225s behind Max Verstappen on top. He thinks that Ferrari are playing catch-up but they can still certainly put themselves into the mix.
“Max looks to be very quick this weekend, he was on it since the beginning, and I think we’re playing a little bit of catch up to him, in both one-lap pace and on the long run. But I think with the steps that we normally do into Saturday and Sunday, we can get ourselves up there.”
While Leclerc is unlikely to take victory Leclerc would certainly be hoping that Carlos Sainz can take some points away from Red Bull to help him and Ferrari in the championship battle – and perhaps even take his first-ever victory. Sainz has had a disruptive season, with three retirements, but it is plausible that this might be the weekend for him.