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Charles Leclerc

Why Leclerc called off Perez Sprint fight

Charles Leclerc had to settle for P2 in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Sprint race after starting the event from pole position, losing out to the Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

Leclerc Baku Sprintrace
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Charles Leclerc admits that he did not fight more with Sergio Perez for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Sprint race victory in order to protect his tyres.

The Monegasque started the event from pole position but was overtaken by Perez on Lap 8 of the 17-lap encounter, with Perez comfortably leading from then on en route to the win.

Speaking after the Sprint, Leclerc suggested that the outcome of the Sprint confirmed Ferrari's fears about Red Bull's race pace, but voiced his hopes of still posing a challenge in Sunday's main Grand Prix.

"We cannot change the car, so... Of course you can work a little bit here and there," Leclerc said.

"It confirms a little bit what we thought, the Red Bull still has the upper hand in the race. But we again must not forget how far we were behind in race pace two races ago, so we did a step forward.

"We are still not where we want to be, but as I said, if winning is not possible, then we just need to take the maximum points, and today there wasn't anything more, so [I'm] happy with a second place.

"We'll try to go for the win tomorrow."

Leclerc on Perez fight

On his battle with Perez, Leclerc commented: "I did not know what to expect.

"I didn't fight too much [with] Checo because I just wanted to try and keep my tyres. I knew this was our weak point.

"I tried to stay within the DRS of Checo so he could pull me on the straight, but that wasn't enough. We were losing a little bit too much towards the end with the degradation, so let's see what's possible to improve tomorrow."

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F1 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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