Charles Leclerc said his late defeat in Bahrain was hard to take after being denied his maiden Formula 1 victory by an issue on his Ferrari power unit.

Leclerc ran eight seconds clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with 10 laps remaining and was on course to collect the win for Ferrari, only for the hybrid system on his power unit to fail.

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The issue left Leclerc powerless to stop both Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas from passing, although the Ferrari driver avoided losing any more positions after the race finished behind the Safety Car, leaving him third at the chequered flag.

“It happens. It’s part of motorsport,” a downcast Leclerc said after the race.

“Unfortunately today it was not our day, but I’m confident. The team has done an amazing job to recover the lack of pace in Australia.

“Of course I’m extremely disappointed like the whole team, but it happens in the season.”

While Leclerc took some solace out of his maiden F1 podium finish - without the late Safety Car, he would have lost at least one more place to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – he admitted it was a hard loss to take.

“We have been lucky in a very unlucky situation because we had the Safety Car at the end, otherwise we would have finished even more rearward, and also I don’t think with the fuel we would have been OK,” Leclerc said.

“Very hard one to take, but thanks to the team for the amazing car all weekend long. I’m pretty sure we’ll come back stronger.

“I’m never really looking at the result and I’m more looking at the potential there was to do better. Today, third was not our place, but very happy anyway.”

 

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