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Leclerc: I was caught between the two Red Bulls

Leclerc: I was caught between the two Red Bulls

Leclerc: I was caught between the two Red Bulls

Charles Leclerc got tangled up with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez at the start of the Mexico City Grand Prix, the latter retiring on the spot, the former lamenting he had no place to go.

Leclerc started from pole, but his start was sluggish compare the Max Verstappen and Perez who tried to make a move on the outside of Turn 1 work, but that ended in tears.

Verstappen, on the other hand, sped into the lead with Leclerc trying to hang on to him in the first part of the race that was Red flagged at lap 33 after Kevin Magnussen crashed heavily in his Haas.

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At the restart, Lewis Hamilton chased and passed Leclerc with the advantage of the Medium tyres, and while Ferrari hoped the Briton would struggle towards the end, which did not happen, while Leclerc had to settle for third.

“It was a tricky one,” the Monegasque said in Ferrari’s race report. “I was caught between the two Red Bulls at the start and unfortunately Checo (Perez) and I touched, which led to me picking up some damage on the car and to Checo retiring.

“Later on, we struggled a bit on the Hards after the restart. Lewis (Hamilton) was really strong on the Mediums and had very little degradation, getting ahead of us,” he pointed out.

“It’s not where we wanted to finish, but we maximised our result,” Leclerc concluded.

While many expected Verstappen to be booed by the Mexican crowds, it was Leclerc who ended up on the receiving end of boos after his first lap clash with Perez.

The Ferrari driver was visibly uncomfortable in the parc ferme interviews where he said: “A lot of booing. Guys I had nowhere to go.”

After starting from second on the grid, Carlos Sainz finished fourth, losing out at the start and then losing out to Hamilton.

Sainz: The result is the maximum we could have achieved

“It was a long and tough race today, having to manage tyres and temperatures constantly,” Sainz commented. “Looking at the pace today I think the result is the maximum we could have achieved.

“Both the starts were quite chaotic, but we kept it together and stuck with our preferred strategy of doing one stop, which we had opted for before the red flag.

“In the end we scored some good points for the team and now we focus on the upcoming Sao Paulo race with the Sprint format,” the Spaniard concluded.

Ferrari team boss, Frédéric Vasseur, was not happy with the final outcome of the race in Mexico, he said: “When you start on the front row, a P3 and a P4 finish is not the result you aim for, but, given how the race was run, I think we almost did the best we could with our car today.

“We knew the start would be tricky because of the long run to the first corner, in which the slipstream can have a big effect and for sure our start today was not ideal.

“In the first stint we were on the pace, but then, like many others, we struggled at the restart with the Hard tyre. And this is what cost Charles the position to Lewis, who was on Mediums, but for us it would have been really on the limit to get to the end on that tyre, if we had taken the opportunity to fit it again when the race was stopped,” the Frenchman explained.

“We need to keep working to reduce the performance difference between our qualifying and race pace, given that, especially on the Hards, we struggled too much compared to our rivals who were able to manage the tyres better than us,” Vasseur concluded.

Ferrari remain behind Mercedes in the 2023 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship, as their fight for second behind Red Bull continues, the gape between them at 30 points.