Charles Leclerc has “no explanation” for Ferrari’s poor performance in the United States Grand Prix and labelled the race as the team’s “most difficult” of the 2019 Formula 1 season. 

The Monegasque finished a distant fourth place in Sunday’s race in Austin and struggled for pace in each of his three stints as Ferrari lagged behind its rivals Mercedes and Red Bull. 

Sebastian Vettel struggled with understeer as he dropped from second on the grid to seventh in the opening laps, before retiring with right-rear suspension failure on Lap eight. 

Leclerc says Ferrari must investigate its performance issues to get to the bottom of what went wrong. 

“It was an extremely hard day,” Leclerc explained.

“I don’t what went wrong, we need to look at the tyres because from the beginning it was just incredibly hard to find the grip with the car. 

“I never found it and then we went onto the Hard tyres which didn’t feel great either. Then on the Softs it felt quite OK but not the best day for us. 

“The first stint was extremely hard and I think this was the main problem of the race. 

“To be completely honest I have no explanation,” he added. “First the front left felt very, very weird and we need to analyse that because I’ve never had this feeling before. 

“I’m pretty sure something was not right on this stint and then on the two others the pace was not as bad, we were a lot better but still not as strong as the guys in front, so this we need to understand.

"It was probably the most difficult race of the season with Budapest. We just never found the pace.” 

Leclerc has now moved 19 points clear of Vettel in third spot the championship standings following his teammate’s retirement. 

Asked if he can take solace from extending his lead over Vettel in the championship, Vettel replied: “Yeah but as a team it’s not great. 

“It would have been better if the two cars had finished so there’s not much positives.” 

 

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