Belgian GP: Charles Leclerc says catching Max Verstappen ‘very difficult’ after Ferrari struggle at Spa

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc reflects on disappointing Belgian Grand Prix result after finishing sixth

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc reflects on disappointing Belgian Grand Prix result after finishing sixth

Charles Leclerc admits it will be “very difficult” to stay in the championship fight after Max Verstappen extended his lead with a dominant victory in the Belgian GP.

After starting the race in 14th place, one place behind Verstappen who also picked up a grid penalty for taking new engine parts, Leclerc could only finish sixth at Spa as his rival raced on. towards victory.

Although he never had the pace to challenge Verstappen, Leclerc was hampered by a forced pitstop on lap one caused by a visor tear stuck in his helmet, before a late strategy call from Ferrari got him costs more points.

After battling to fifth place, Leclerc entered for a late pit stop as Ferrari looked to steal the fastest lap point of the race from Verstappen, but he first lost his position to the advantage of Fernando Alonso and had to pass the Alpine in the final. turn to take it back.

However, this was all in vain as he received a five second speeding penalty in the pit lane and consequently came back under Alonso in sixth place, leaving him 98 points behind Verstappen, and now also behind Sergio’s other Red Bull. Perez.

The best of the action from a dramatic Belgian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen won from 14th on the grid

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

The best of the action from a dramatic Belgian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen won from 14th on the grid

The best of the action from a dramatic Belgian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen won from 14th on the grid

“After the start I was hopeful, then we had a tear in the brake so we had to stop and start all over again,” said Leclerc.

“Then I knew it was going to be a tough race from that point on.

“The pit lane wasn’t bad luck, it was just my fault – it was a mistake and that’s it. On the other hand, we were just not fast enough, which is the problem more than anything else. We have to work on that.”

While it looked like a Leclerc vs. Verstappen battle was to ensue for the world championship this season, errors in strategy as well as driver error made it increasingly unlikely that Ferrari could make a dent in the advantage of Red Bull.

Max Verstappen climbs the standings from the back of the grid at the Belgian GP

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

Max Verstappen climbs the standings from the back of the grid at the Belgian GP

Max Verstappen climbs the standings from the back of the grid at the Belgian GP

“It’s starting to look very difficult, especially with the rhythm [Red Bull] showed this weekend. But I will put my head down, try to concentrate race by race and give my best,” added Leclerc.

“Again, it’s starting to look very difficult [in terms of still being in the championship fight]but I will do my best.”

Binotto defends Ferrari strategy after late mistake

Although Ferrari’s strategic calls were once again called into question, team principal Mattia Binotto defended the risky decision to call on Leclerc for a fastest lap attempt.

“Some are unhappy because we came here hoping for a better result, but we also have to accept today that Red Bull are faster than us and were slightly faster in Hungary, so now it’s a few races where they are. faster,” says Binotto.

“We have to focus on ourselves, try to find our weaknesses and push developments. Not just for this season but also for the next one.

Mattia Binotto says Ferrari will look to close the gap to Red Bull after losing a win today at Spa, despite Carlos Sainz starting on pole

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

Mattia Binotto says Ferrari will look to close the gap to Red Bull after losing a win today at Spa, despite Carlos Sainz starting on pole

Mattia Binotto says Ferrari will look to close the gap to Red Bull after losing a win today at Spa, despite Carlos Sainz starting on pole

“I think we made the right decision because you have to be brave enough to try to go for the maximum and there was a gap on Fernando.

“We knew it was very tight but we knew we could get past it on the new tires by taking the DRS and getting the extra speed on the straight.

“In the end it was the right choice but we didn’t do the fastest lap and maybe that’s another reason why. But the choice was the right one and the speeding we let’s look at the data, it was really, really borderline.

“I don’t think just because there are risks in the operation you shouldn’t stop for the fastest lap.”

Although he defended his team’s decision-making, Binotto admitted that the drivers’ championship was now out of Ferrari’s hands and firmly in the hands of Red Bull.

“If you look at the Drivers’ Championship, the gap to Max is now very high and it won’t be enough for Max to win all the races just to finish ahead of him and we have to start relying on Max not to finish the races.

“And when you rely on others, it becomes more difficult.”

Sainz: It was harder than expected

It’s not just Leclerc leaving the Belgian Grand Prix with questions for Ferrari after Carlos Sainz admitted his car wasn’t as competitive as he had expected.

Sainz started on pole but tire degradation coupled with a lack of speed saw him finish the race third, with George Russell’s Mercedes chasing him until the final moments.

“Unfortunately it was more difficult than expected,” said Sainz. “We had a good start and a good restart after the safety car, but the pace wasn’t there.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz reflects on his performance at the Belgian Grand Prix after securing a podium finish

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz reflects on his performance at the Belgian Grand Prix after securing a podium finish

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz reflects on his performance at the Belgian Grand Prix after securing a podium finish

“We had a lot of overheating on the tyres, we were sliding a lot and for some reason our package wasn’t quite there this weekend.

“But, in the end, we finished on the podium and we will take it.”

Ferrari could actually find themselves looking over their shoulders in the final eight races of the season, with Mercedes trailing just 41 points in the constructors’ championship and having been able to match or better the Italian team’s pace in recent races.

George Russell talks about his disappointment at missing out on the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

George Russell talks about his disappointment at missing out on the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix.

George Russell talks about his disappointment at missing out on the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix.

“Certainly today our race pace was probably better than Ferrari’s,” Russell said. “Carlos obviously started on pole and he was leading the first stint and we got close to him both times.

“At worst I think we were level with Ferrari today but as we know it’s seesaws and roundabouts.

“I think our pace was slightly better than Ferrari today, but Red Bull are just in a league of their own at the moment.



Belgian GP: Charles Leclerc says catching Max Verstappen ‘very difficult’ after Ferrari struggle at Spa

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.