Charles Leclerc continued his fantastic start to the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship season with a fourth-place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Another excellent qualifying weekend saw the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow driver start fourth on the grid. He got the jump on Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Valterri Bottas at the start, consoling his place in third.
He remained in third until his first stop, at which point the Finn was using his car speed to his advantage and breezed past Leclerc, who then finished the race in fourth for the second time this season and, once again, took victory in the team-mate battle.
A strong result at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has taken Leclerc within one point of Lando Norris, who currently sits third in the drivers’ Championship.
The 23-year-old was obviously pleased with the result in the Spanish Grand Prix, saying that fourth place was the best the team could achieve on Sunday.
“It was a very good race. I had a good start, then went for the outside in turn 3, which worked out for us. From then on, we had a very competitive race. Our pace was strong, both on the Soft and Medium tyres.
“Still, P4 was the best we could achieve. I am really happy though, because from the cockpit you can feel when you do a good job and that was the case today.
“As a team, we did a really good job, everything went perfectly. We see that we have made a lot of progress compared to last year, and this is credit to everyone working so hard back at our factory in Maranello.”
Next for F1 teams is the trip to one of the most iconic venues on the calendar, Monaco, as it will be the sports first visit since 2019 after it was cancelled last year. Leclerc is excited to be heading back to his home country and also seeing the fans in the grandstands after organisers allowed a 25% capacity for Grand Prix.
“We were quite strong in the third sector, which is very technical. Hopefully, that’s a positive sign for Monaco.
“Since the beginning of the season, we seem to be strong in the slow corners, so I am crossing my fingers that it will stay that way.
“I am really looking forward to my home race. Seeing fans there in the grandstands will be amazing and I hope to be just as competitive there.”
Carlos Sainz Jr – “I am not very satisfied with seventh”
His new team-mate continued his fine form since joining Ferrari for the 2021 season, however, Carlos Sainz Jr was ‘not very satisfied’ with a seventh-place finish in Barcelona.
It was another strong performance by Sainz in qualifying at his home Grand Prix, however, a poor start saw the Spaniard fall down the pecking order before turn one. From that point onwards, Sainz couldn’t recover and had to settle for seventh place, still beating McLaren F1 Team’s Norris.
Sainz was not pleased with his Grand Prix in Barcelona and felt a stronger start at the beginning could have seen a fifth-place finish, but says the team leave Spain with a good amount of championship points, closing the gap on McLaren to five points.
“I am not very satisfied with P7 today, to be honest. I had a poor getaway at the start and after the first corner I found myself surrounded and lost a couple of places. From then onwards though, we had a very strong pace.
“Today the car was well balanced and it performed quite well with the tyres. We still lack a bit of speed on the straights, which makes us struggle for overtaking. We must work on that and I must keep working on refining some details, because today with a stronger start we could have made it to P5.
“The strategy worked well, and the guys put together a couple of fast pit stops. It was a good team effort and we leave Spain with good points for the Championship. We must continue to analyse where we weren’t perfect, and push from there!”