Leclerc defiant ahead of Monaco despite costly DNF: 'No reason to be angry'

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is remaining upbeat about winning his first-ever F1 drivers’ championship despite retiring from the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc (MON)
Charles Leclerc (MON)

Leclerc lost the lead of the championship for the first time in 2022 when he was forced to retire on Lap 27 due to an engine issue.

Main title rival Max Verstappen secured his third consecutive victory to move six points ahead of Leclerc heading into this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. 

Up until Lap 27, Leclerc had dominated the weekend with Ferrari’s new upgrades seemingly moving them ahead of Red Bull after trailing their main rivals in Imola and Miami.

On Monday, Ferrari confirmed that the turbo and MGU-H from Leclerc’s engine are damaged and cannot be repaired.

This means that Leclerc might have to take engine penalties later in the year.

“Let’s say that I feel better after this weekend than after the last two weekends,” Leclerc said “Of course there is this issue on the car and I am very disappointed, but on the other hand I think there are plenty of positive signs throughout the whole weekend. Our qualifying pace, the new package worked as expected, which is not always a given, and everything was working well with our race pace and tyre management. 

“On tyre management at the last two races we have been struggling quite a bit compared to Red Bull and today it was strong. So in those situations I think it is good to also look at the positives and there are plenty today.”

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 6, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 6,…

Leclerc’s positive attitude was reflected in how he handled the disappointment when he returned to the Ferrari garage in the middle of the race.

The Monegasque was quick to console his Ferrari mechanics after his retirement in Barcelona.

“It’s always a disappointment and when you are fighting for a championship you know that all the points are very valuable,” Leclerc added. “Over the course of the season it always more or less happens. That’s not an excuse, for sure, and I’m sure everyone is already working flat-out to understand it and fix it as soon as possible. 

“Everyone is as disappointed with me today with what happened, but there is no reason for me to be angry with anybody when I got out the car. I just went to see the mechanics to cheer them up because they were pretty down.”

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75 retired from the race. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 6, Spanish Grand Prix,
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75 retired from the race. Formula 1 World…

Without his DNF, Leclerc believes he had the race win in the bag.

“With the laps I have done, honestly everything was going really, really well,” Leclerc explained. “Honestly, I think it would have been difficult for them to catch back up because there would have been quite a bit of a gap and we had very good degradation on the soft tyres and we could do quite a few more laps compared to them. 

“So, overall, I think we had this race under control.”

Ferrari’s next upgrade for F1 British GP?

With Ferrari’s latest upgrade package working well, team boss Mattia Binotto expects the team’s next major package to arrive in time for the British Grand Prix in July.

“I think that the budget cap is dictating somehow what we can do, and I think that certainly we need to have a close look at it and not waste our money, because we cannot do that,” Binotto said. “I think we will bring upgrades when we have a significant one, it cannot be at races that we are slightly modifying pieces, so I think we will keep the same approach, yes. 

“On top of that, if I look at the next races we have Monaco, where anyway you are bringing a new front suspension for steering angle, and then later on we have Baku which is also a street circuit. So I think certainly it will be around UK that some developments will arrive.”

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