Leclerc finished in P7 and raged to his engineers: "Being behind like this is really ****. I don't know what to do!”

Earlier in the race, he was told: “Try to push from Safety Car Line One. Lewis Hamilton just pitted.”

But Leclerc hit back: “Xavi, you need to tell me that before!”

The reply: “Copy.”

Leclerc: “No, but come on!”

Can Red Bull win every race this season?

The Monagasque driver had qualified second-fastest but, due to a 10-place penalty because Ferrari needed to fit a third power unit to his car this weekend, going above their allocation, he began the grand prix from 12th.

It has been a frustrating start to the year for Leclerc whose title charge in 2022 fell apart due to strategy and reliability issues.

Those problems have not yet been totally resolved since replacing team principal Mattia Binotto with Fred Vasseur.

Before entering a frustrating Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Leclerc was forced to deny reports that he demanded a meeting at Maranello with Ferrari president John Elkann to discuss the worrying season-opening Bahrain GP.