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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc backs Ferrari strategy despite losing Singapore podium

The Ferrari driver was promoted to fourth on the final lap after George Russell crashed out.

Leclerc Singapore Saturday
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari made the right call to stay out during the late Virtual Safety Car, despite it costing him a podium in the Singapore Grand Prix.

After Esteban Ocon stopped on track with a problem, the VSC was deployed which both Mercedes drivers used to pit for new sets of tyres. Leclerc initially wanted to pit as well, but the team told him to stay out.

At the restart both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton utilised their tyre advantage, overtaking Leclerc with ease and demoting him to fifth, where he just about fended off Max Verstappen by the flag.

"It was hard on the Hard [tyre], but to be honest I think we did a really good race management," he told media, including RacingNews365.

"That's exactly what we wanted to do to protect the position to George, try and create the gap for Carlos to be able to stop one lap later than me without losing the lead.

"Unfortunately with the Safety Car, that put me on the back foot because I lost four or five positions.

"I was trying my best on the Hard [tyre], but then as soon as George and Lewis passed me, it was all about bringing the car to the end."

Leclerc manages car to the end

Leclerc started the race on the Soft tyres, leading some to believe he was being sacrificed to protect teammate Carlos Sainz.

The Monegasque reveals that it was his decision to start on the tyre: "I changed my mind very last minute, just to make sure that I was in front of George [Russell] in the first stint."

In the closing stages, he had to reduce his pace even more, which put him under threat from Verstappen who finished just 0.264s behind at the chequered flag.

"The car was overheating, everywhere, so the pace was a lot more sensitive," he explained.

"We knew that this was critical at Singapore, so after the two Mercedes had passed me there wasn't much to gain anymore by pushing."

F1 2023 Singapore Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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