Charles Leclerc took second at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, after a brilliant fight with Max Verstappen in a race where he pushed for the absolute limit.
Leclerc might have failed to take his fourth win in Formula 1, but the Monegasque relished the fight with Verstappen, that was hard but fair.
“Oh my god! I really enjoyed that race,” Leclerc said after the race. “It’s hard racing but fair. Every race should be like this. It was fun, I’m of course disappointed, we wanted to win today.”
Asked about respect between him and the Verstappen, Leclerc responded: “It’s always been there, especially when you finish a race like this.
“We’re on a street track, we’ve been pushing like I’ve rarely pushed before to the absolute limit, and we take risks at the end, so of course there is respect.”
“It was [smart racing], but it wasn’t enough [to win] today,” the Ferrari driver went on. “We took risks at the end, so there is respect, but I’m a bit disappointed.
“I think we had two very different configurations between Max, Checo [Perez] and both the Ferraris,” Leclerc went on to reveal.
“We were quite quick in the corners, but slow on the straights, so it was extremely difficult for me to cover Max on the straights.
“But he did a great job and it was a fun race,” the 24-year-old concluded.
Carlos Sainz: This race was a bit of progress from Bahrain
Carlos Sainz finished the third, the Spaniard declaring he has made a bit of progress from the season opener in Bahrain a week ago.
“I was happier than in Bahrain,” Sainz said. “I liked the corners with this car. Now I understand the magnitude of the car.
Sainz had a moment with Sergio Perez under the Safety Car following Nicholas Latifi’s crash, of which he said: “A little bit of confusion with the safety car.
“It was a close call there with Checo but in the end, I think he got a bit unlucky with the safety car but the rules are the rules. I think I was just ahead at the safety car line, it was my position then and after that, it was all about holding onto P3,” he explained.
“The Red Bulls were super quick in the last 10 laps. They were flying and putting pressure on us. For me, this race was a bit of progress from Bahrain.
“I think I managed to find a bit more rhythm with the car, still some tenths to find but I think I will end up getting there,” Sainz revealed.
Mattia Binotto: Very pleased with 88 points in two races
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto reflected on the race in Jeddah, acknowledging Verstappen’s performance, and said to the media: “Honestly congratulations to Max. Max drove very well It was a great spectacle that the two guys were fighting until the end.
“We can be very pleased with 88 points in two races. Both cars on podium in consecutives races after never doing it at all since Singapore 2019. Now they are fighting here for one and two. It is a very good result.”
Binotto gave some insight on the performance differential between Red Bull and Ferrari saying: “Red bull have a lot of speed.
“We were compromising in the corners. Curious to see Melbourne and new layout. It will be a great battle,” he pointed out. “It is a choice race by race. We decide downforce and adapt to tire degradation .” (Additional Reporting by Agnes Carlier)