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“We struggled with the tyres,” Charles Leclerc agonizes over Imola GP sprint after being denied victory by Max Verstappen

Charles Leclerc then led the sprint until the 20th lap when Max Verstappen eventually overtook the Monagesque and regained his spot in the front of the grid.

Charles Leclerc finished the first sprint race of the 2022 season in Imola in P2. He fought a thrilling battle against rival Max Verstappen who claimed P1 and will lead the grid in the main race of the Emilia Romagna GP on Sunday. Sergio Perez finished P3 while Carlos Sainz finished P4 making it a Red Bull-Ferrari Lock-up in the front two rows.

Leclerc had a great start compared to Verstappen who struggled to engage his gears. Leclerc then led the sprint until the 20th lap when the Dutchman eventually overtook the Monagesque and regained his spot in the front of the grid.

Leclerc believes his tyres were graining a bit unevenly hence not allowing him to defend Verstappen. This seemed to be an issue persistent in both Ferrari’s. But was overwhelmed by the response of the Tifosi who cheered the Monagesque throughout the race.

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Charles Leclerc: “Every time we are in Italy we have so much support”

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in Imola Sprint race

Charles Leclerc admitted that he felt his tyres were gone by the time Max Verstappen made the overtake reclaiming his first place. His teammate Carlos Sainz too admitted the graining issues of the tyres limited him despite recovering from P10 to P4 during the race. In comparison, Red Bull’s of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez seemed to have plenty of life left in their tyres and showed much less wear than the Ferrari.

In his post-race interview, Leclerc said, “It’s still a front-row start, we struggled with the tyres at the end, we need to analyse that. We will work and come back strong tomorrow. Every time we are in Italy we have so much support, it’s amazing.”

Max Verstappen claimed 8 points by finishing P1. The Dutchman had 46 point deficit to championship leader Leclerc ahead of the sprint. The race ahead will be crucial in Verstappen cutting the deficit and getting closer to the Monagesque.

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