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Charles Leclerc

Brundle on Leclerc 'nightmare': Incidents, unreliability and penalties

Charles Leclerc failed to score at the Spanish Grand Prix after a shocking qualifying session led to a pit lane start.

Leclerc Baku
To news overview © XPBimages

Former F1 driver Martin Brundle has labelled Charles Leclerc's season as a "nightmare" following a scoreless race at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver qualified only 19th at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and started from the pit lane following changes to his car ahead of the race.

But the Monegasque was unable to return to the top 10, falling short in 12th position by the end of the 66-laps – though he would be promoted to 11th by virtue of Yuki Tsunoda's five-second penalty.

It was a weekend of surprise results with Sergio Perez failing to reach Q3 or the podium despite Red Bull's dominance, whilst McLaren slumped from a promising qualifying.

Assessing the weekend in his Sky Sports F1 column, Brundle said: "Apart from Red Bull, the rest of the pack is pretty close, such that if – say – a Haas, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo, or Williams driver is having a strong day, and perhaps a driver in one of the grandee teams is underperforming, then we'll have some qualifying shocks.

"And that's exactly what happened on the grid for Sunday's race with Sergio Perez in 11th, [George] Russell in 12th and Charles Leclerc a shocking 19th, before overnight work left him starting from the pit lane.

"The cool qualifying conditions on a still-drying track mixed it up further and teams like McLaren really hit a sweet spot for surface temperatures and making their car sing in the long, fast corners. Sadly, 66 racing laps of that place leave nowhere to hide in the end."

Incidents, unreliability and grid penalties

"It was clear from lights out that [Max] Verstappen would cruise off into the distance, that Mercedes had a strong race car, and that Aston Martin and Ferrari were struggling," added Brundle.

"Those high-speed circuit changes ensured that we would have more pit stops than in recent years too.

"It was also clear that Sergio Perez was making reasonable but unspectacular progress through the pack in his Red Bull, and that Leclerc was labouring further back despite a whole new back end on his car. Perez would climb to 4th, Leclerc wouldn't make the points in 11th place.

"Leclerc is having a nightmare season despite his prodigious speed, it's just been incidents, unreliability, and grid penalties all the way so far."

F1 2023 Spanish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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