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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc frustrated with himself after costly mistake: I was too greedy

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc has explained the late-race error that cost him a podium place at Imola, and could have resulted in a retirement.

Leclerc Imola
To news overview © XPB Images

Charles Leclerc has revealed what happened in the closing stages of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as the Ferrari driver made a costly error while chasing down Red Bull's Sergio Perez.

Having looked nailed on for third place, an aggressive tyre gamble from Ferrari saw the Monegasque fitted with a fresh set of Softs for the final laps to try to put Red Bull under pressure.

Leclerc had latched onto the back of Perez and was trying to keep close into the DRS detection point at Rivazza when he hit the kerbs at the Variante Alta too hard.

The mistake threw the F1-75 into the air, with Leclerc losing control and going off sideways into the tyre barriers. While he had some damage to his front wing, he was fortunate not to be forced to retire as he returned to the pits for a new front wing and change of tyres.

Leclerc went on to salvage sixth place, resulting in race winner Max Verstappen closing to 27 points behind Leclerc in the Drivers' Championship.

Leclerc left rueing the costly error

"It wasn't great," Leclerc mournfully told Viaplay after crossing the line.

"I've had a season where I haven't done many mistakes until now, but today was one big one."

The championship leader explained he'd been pushing hard to try keeping pressure up on Perez.

"Realistically, we didn't have the pace of the Red Bull; they were too quick today for us in all the conditions," he said.

"I tried to put a bit more speed in Turn 14 and 15 to be closer to Checo [Perez] to try and overtake him into Turn 2, because I saw that this was one of the only opportunities of the race, and I pushed too much."

But, in a more philosophical frame of mind as he spoke to Sky Sports F1, Leclerc said the points damage wasn't particularly dramatic as he only lost seven compared to finishing in third place.

"I paid a price for it and lost seven potential points compared to third place, so it is a shame," he added.

"It's seven points that are valuable at the end of the championship, for sure, and this shouldn't happen again."

Cause for concern about Red Bull's pace?

With Red Bull and Verstappen claiming the maximum number of points available to them this weekend, Leclerc didn't hazard a guess as to whether the RB18 has taken a step forward to eclipse Ferrari's potential.

"I think it's very difficult to know," he commented.

"We'll see, only time will tell how much of a step they did but, for sure, they seemed to be more competitive.

"We had the upper hand in Bahrain and in Australia, and they've had the upper hand this weekend and in Jeddah, so it is very, very close. I think it will be that way for the rest of the season.

"The consequence, considering the mistake, could have been much bigger. It's only seven points today, but it will cost more the next time, so I need to be careful about that."

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