Leclerc believes fourth was possible in Canada without pit delay

Charles Leclerc says he got the best possible result by climbing through the field to finish fifth in the Canadian Grand Prix as a pit stop problem limited his chances of further progress.

The Ferrari driver started the race from the back row as a result of a grid penalty for taking new power unit components, and had to fight his way through on an alternate strategy. Starting on hard tires, Leclerc ran long but got stuck behind Esteban Ocon once in the points, and then his one pit stop led to a delay that dropped him back again before he eventually passed both Alpine drivers for fifth place.

“Overall, I mean honestly, in the very first part of the race, there was no problem with traction in general,” Leclerc said. “It was just everyone had DRS so I couldn’t do anything.

“And then in the middle stint, there was quite a big problem with traction, but that was only because Esteban had new tires and so out of Turn 10, that’s where you need the tires and he had much more grip than I did, so I struggled to follow him there and that was very frustrating.

“Then obviously we had the problem at the pit stop, which made our life much more difficult, because I got back four cars again with the DRS train and I had to be a bit more aggressive after that to come back. So yeah, considering all of this, P5 was the best.”

After crossing the line 2.8 seconds behind George Russell in fourth, Leclerc admits he had his eye on at least one more position without the slow stop.

“It would have changed quite a bit without those few things. I think the thing about the middle stint, there was nothing we could have done better there, it was just the situation we found ourselves in. Obviously the pit stop cost us quite a bit.”

Leclerc did still enjoy the battles he had during the race, particularly the late recovery that saw him pass both Ocon and Fernando Alonso on separate occasions under braking for the hairpin.

“I just had to push a bit more and be a bit more aggressive and take a bit more risk to have a bit more points. At the end it worked out, so it was fun.”

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