Charles Leclerc seemed on his way to a podium position in Turkey. The Ferrari driver decided to drive for a long time and to make a late pit stop for new intermediates and that ultimately ensured that he crossed the finish line in fourth.
Charles Leclerc started the Turkish Grand Prix from third place. The Monegask held on to that third position for a long time, but in the end only managed to finish fourth. Despite finishing lower than where he started, Leclerc says he has “no regrets” about the decision to continue long on his old tires.
“I had all the information I needed at that moment. And when Valtteri made a pit stop, I often asked on the radio: okay, what are Valtteri’s lap times on the new inters?” explains Leclerc in conversation.
In the beginning, the Ferrari driver thought that staying outside was the right choice. “For the first five or six laps we were about his speed. So it was clear to me that it wasn’t just a gamble. I was happy that we were all convinced of that choice.”
However, it turned out not to be the right choice. Valtteri Bottas was faster than Leclerc on his new tires and overtook Monegask on lap 46. The track dried up slowly and that made for ‘a bit of a weird race’ said Leclerc. “The new intermediates had more wear in the first five or six laps. After that phase you could suddenly drive a lot faster and that is exactly what happened,” explains the Ferrari driver after the race.
Leclerc therefore does not regret the decision to drive longer, but does think that Ferrari has chosen a wrong set-up. The Monegask rode with a set-up with a lot of downforce. “It probably wasn’t the best set-up for today, but I was really surprised by our speed. The car slid back and forth a bit, but we were competitive.”
The Ferrari driver therefore thinks that there would not have been much more today due to the adjustment. “We couldn’t have expected more from that first stint. We were just as fast as Max, so it was a good stint. I don’t know what would have been possible with a different set-up,” concludes Leclerc.