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Charles Leclerc

How Leclerc saw his Ferrari team succumb to Red Bull's pressure

Charles Leclerc had looked to be in strong contention for victory during the opening stint at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but it all seemed to unravel for the Monegasque when he was brought in for a second pit-stop.

Leclerc Hungary
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc admits that Ferrari's decision to react to Red Bull pitting Max Verstappen during the second stint of the Hungarian Grand Prix was probably a key moment in terms of where they lost the race.

After starting from third on the grid, Leclerc had a strong opening stint and eventually found himself in the lead, ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz and pole-sitter George Russell.

However, when a charging Max Verstappen pitted first during the second round of stops, Ferrari opted to respond and brought Leclerc in, where they fitted his F1-75 with a set of the Hard tyres.

Leclerc struggled to warm up this compound, and as such fell behind Verstappen and Russell, who were both running the Mediums.

The Scuderia eventually decided to bring Leclerc in for a third pit-stop to switch to the Soft tyres, but this left him down in P6 by the end of the race.

Leclerc explains how much time was lost on Hard tyre

Speaking after the race, Leclerc admitted that he had wanted to stay on the Medium tyre for "as long as possible" during the opening stint, and revealed just how much time he lost when running the Hard compound.

"I think the pace was very good today on the Medium," Leclerc told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"But then on the Hard, obviously, we lost all the pace. We did one stop more than everybody, losing 20 seconds.

"Plus the five or six laps we were on the Hard we were losing a second per lap, so this is a lot of race time."

Leclerc acknowledged that, while there was still graining on the Soft tyre, it did not compare to the issues with the Hard.

"On the Medium it was very good, honestly, the feeling was very good. The tyres were always good, basically," he said.

"On the Soft, yes [there was graining], but we had to pit quite early because the Hard was just incredibly difficult so the Soft was the only tyre left.

"We grained at the end but nothing that surprised me. The Soft we were expecting to grain."

Where the race was lost for Leclerc and Ferrari

Leclerc feels that the starting tyre was the right option, but that the switch to Hards was where things started to go wrong.

"I think starting on the Medium was the right choice. I think stopping for the Hard was the turning point of the race," he added.

The Ferrari driver also believes that the fact that the team responded to the pressure from Red Bull pitting Verstappen was another key factor in them losing the Grand Prix.

"I'm pretty sure that this was [Verstappen's] call, to put us under pressure," Leclerc continued.

"But I don't think we should have maybe reacted to that because then it was a snowball effect for us, and we lost a lot more than what we should have."

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