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Frederic Vasseur

Vasseur blames 'worse case' timing for Leclerc loss

The timing of the Safety Car could not have been at a worse time for Charles Leclerc, but was it ultimately what prevented him from winning the Las Vegas Grand Prix?

Leclerc Verstappen Las Vegas
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur believes the timing of the Safety Car during the Las Vegas Grand Prix made Charles Leclerc lose out on a potential win.

The Monegasque had completed his pit stop four laps before it was brought out, due to debris on track after contact between Max Verstappen and George Russell on Lap 25 at Turn 12.

Under the Safety Car, Sergio Perez pitted from the lead he had cycled to after Leclerc's stop, and restarted behind the Ferrari on fresh tyres, quickly passing for the lead on the restart.

However, Leclerc came back at Perez to retake the lead for himself, before Max Verstappen sliced past both on his way to the win.

It was a 12th pole in a row Leclerc has failed to win from - but Vasseur was left ruing the timing of the deployment.

"On our side it's a strange feeling when you do the pole position, you overtake three times the Red Bull and you finish P2. It's not usual," Vasseur told media, including RacingNews365.

"Also the timing of the Safety Car was the worst-case scenario for us, four laps after our pit-stop but it is what it is.

"Charles did a good job but I think even Carlos, if you consider the FP1 story plus the incident in Turn 1, he's P20 and he's coming back to P6."

Vasseur: At one stage we thought he was too far away

Leclerc initially made a mistake which enabled Perez through for second, but on the final lap he made a dramatic move down the inside to reclaim the position.

He pulled it off, although Vasseur initially thought the move might not be possible when they saw the initial gap to the Red Bull driver.

"The lap before at one stage I was like: 'We will try to do it' but I had the gap on my dash and said: 'Wow, no, it's too far away. It's too far away'," he said.

"But the lap after I was a bit surprised, probably less than Checo, but I thought it was make a good move and I think [Leclerc] was so motivated."

F1 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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