Leclerc's Styrian GP charge "one of my best performances" in F1

Charles Leclerc said his charge from near the back of field to finish seventh in the Styrian Grand Prix was one of his best showings in Formula 1.

Leclerc's Styrian GP charge "one of my best performances" in F1

The Ferrari driver had to pit early at the Red Bull Ring after damaging his front wing in a brush with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly on the run out of the first corner.

He dropped all the way down to 17th on the road, before pulling off a series of overtaking moves to battle his way up to seventh, one place behind teammate Carlos Sainz Jr.

Buoyed by the race pace of his car, just one week from the nightmare his team suffered in France, Leclerc felt the afternoon at the Red Bull had shown something special.

“If we look at the first lap, it's been an incredible race for us,” he told Sky F1. “We've been incredibly quick, but obviously this first lap basically stopped us from doing something much, much, much better today.

“It was a big opportunity. The pace was incredible. It's probably one of my best performances in Formula 1 today, apart from the lap one.”

Leclerc said the pace over the race in Austria was hugely encouraging because of the way that Ferrari has struggled on Sundays so far this year. It also bodes well for a repeat performance next week at the same track.

“I'm really looking forward to next weekend obviously,” he added. “Today it was really, really special. I mean, it's been a long time that we had this type of race pace. It was good to see.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Leclerc added he was unsure who was to blame for the clash with Gasly, as the slight brush between them caused a puncture that eventually put his AlphaTauri rival out of the race.

“To be honest, I need to re-watch the images from outside,” explained Leclerc. “I have no idea whether Pierre went a little bit to the left and I went a little bit to the right at the same time. I guess it's a bit of both. And at the end, we touched.”

Leclerc’s teammate Sainz was equally happy with his climb from 12th to sixth, but reckoned he could have finished higher up if he had not lost time being stuck behind a slow Lewis Hamilton who had lapped him earlier.

“It was a very good day in the office,” he said. “We managed to have a very strong first stint on the mediums, overcut pretty much the whole midfield with really good pace.

"Then a very weird scenario, no? I was on very fresh hards, I had Lando in front that I knew I could catch with clean air, but suddenly I found myself behind Lewis.

“I doubted for five, 10 laps, whether to follow him and to try to catch Lando. Suddenly I realised that Lewis was struggling with the tyres, I was much quicker and I had to unlap myself.

“But by the time I unlapped myself, it was too late to go and catch Lando.”

shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton: ‘Impossible’ to keep up with Verstappen in ‘lonely’ Styrian GP
Previous article

Hamilton: ‘Impossible’ to keep up with Verstappen in ‘lonely’ Styrian GP

Next article

Wolff: Title race isn’t over despite end to Mercedes development

Wolff: Title race isn’t over despite end to Mercedes development
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022