Charles Leclerc has claimed that Ferrari changed their minds over a team orders call in the Brazilian Grand Prix, leaving him "frustrated". The Monegasque was running in fourth in the latter stages of the race – with teammate Carlos Sainz up ahead in third – after recovering from an earlier collision with Lando Norris. As the Grand Prix approached its end, Leclerc asked over team radio if the positions would be switched, given his close battle with Sergio Perez for P2 in the World Championship. This did not happen, and Leclerc voiced his confusion over the incident after the race.
Leclerc admits frustration in 'heat of the moment'
"I had that [earlier] shunt, [so] to finish P4 is great," Leclerc explained to media. "I asked on the radio in the last few laps [about switching positions]. I was frustrated about that in the heat of the moment, because we had that discussion before the race and, for some reason, we changed our minds, which I don't know why. "It was frustrating, and I hope that in Abu Dhabi we'll be fast enough for me to get the second place in the championship. If not, it's like this." Despite this, Leclerc can understand why the team may have been unsure about taking a podium result away from Sainz. "Carlos did an incredible job and he deserved that P3 and the podium, because he did a great race," Leclerc added. "Again, if we didn't have that discussion prior to the race, I wouldn't have asked."
Leclerc reflects on Norris incident
Leclerc's recovery drive at Interlagos came after he hit the barriers at Turn 7 following his Lap 7 collision with Norris, an incident for which the McLaren driver was handed a five-second time penalty along with two penalty points. Reflecting on what happened, Leclerc argued that he felt he had given Norris enough room. "I thought I had left space – well, I'm pretty sure I left him space," the Scuderia driver said. "I think he lost the rear and then touched me, so after that it was a good recovery but not enough to challenge for better positions."