Charles Leclerc has labelled the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix a “challenging race” amidst team orders and car balance issues for Scuderia Ferrari.
Leclerc had started the race from fifth following an error during qualifying and would finish the race there too, trailing his team-mate Sebastian Vettel while rivals Mercedes-AMG Motorsport cruised to their fifth one-two in a row.
Leclerc had shown impressive pace during the opening stages and gave Ferrari a headache as they contemplated ordering Vettel to move aside for his younger team-mate. The four-time world champion eventually yielded and Leclerc set about closing in on third place Max Verstappen.
Ferrari would reverse the position once again during the second stint of the race as Vettel showed more pace on Pirelli’s Medium compound tyre to Leclerc’s white-striped Hards.
A late-race safety car would see both Ferraris stop again but Leclerc was unable to improve on his fifth place.
“It was a challenging race,” said Leclerc. “The first stint was quite positive on my side, but then it became more difficult. We wanted to go to the end of the race on the hard compound, but when the Safety Car came out, we realised we would struggle at the restart and so I pitted for a set of mediums.
“I struggled with the balance on the second and third stints, and lost a bit of confidence with the car. We have a lot of work ahead of us and will push as hard as possible to close the gap to the front. We gathered a lot of data this weekend and will continue to do so at the test next week.”