Charles Leclerc put in a solid performance at Scuderia Ferrari’s home Italian Grand Prix to claim fourth, just missing out on a podium position in front of the Tifosi. Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr finished sixth in his first Italian Grand Prix for Ferrari.
Leclerc put everything he had into Sunday’s race at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, after being in a car that lacked significant speed down the straights. Nevertheless he fought valiantly all race and even found himself in second place, after Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen took each other out on lap twenty-six.
The pairs collision allowed Leclerc to pit under the safety car, meaning he gained several positions on those who had already stopped. Leclerc quickly dropped down to fourth though, first Lando Norris found his way past and then Sergio Pérez followed suit, albeit by running off the circuit. The Mexican was awarded a five-second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage on the Ferrari driver.
It wasn’t long until Leclerc was down to fifth, Valtteri Bottas who was in a much quicker car, also made his way past the Monegasque driver. Fifth place is where Leclerc managed to cross the finish line, but as he was within five-seconds of Pérez, he was elevated up to fourth place just missing out on a podium finish.
Leclerc believes he put everything into the race and is proud of the progress the team have made.
“I put my whole heart into it today. In terms of my personal performance, I would rank this as one of my top drives since joining Formula 1, so I am really happy about my race. Every lap was like a qualifying lap and I took every opportunity I had to fight for positions and had fun driving. We were quite vulnerable on the main straight which is what made the race more difficult for us.
“Of course we want more than a fourth place, but taking all things into consideration I think this is a result we can be pleased with today. Looking at where we were last year, we have made a big step forward. This is thanks to the work of every person on our team and I think we should be proud of this and acknowledge it.“
“We were not quite there in the fight” – Carlos Sainz Jr
Considering how big a crash Sainz had Saturday morning, the Spaniard did a superb job on Sunday to clinch a sixth place finish, in what was mainly an uneventful race for the Ferrari driver.
Sainz was involved in a collision on the opening lap of the race, Antonio Giovinazzi who ran across the kerb at turn five re-entered the circuit in an unsafe manner. The Italian drove straight into the path of Sainz who had no where to go, Sainz clipped the rear of Giovinazzi sending the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver into a half-spin.
Somehow Sainz’s car was undamaged from the collision, in what was the most eventful moment of the Spaniards first race in front of the Tifosi.
Despite only finishing sixth, Sainz enjoyed his first Italian Grand Prix with Ferrari but is disappointed not to have stood on the podium.
“My first Italian GP with Ferrari was very special and I will always remember this weekend even if it wasn’t the best in terms of results. We obviously wanted to stand on the podium in front of the tifosi but it wasn’t possible. We were not quite there in the fight today and I’ve struggled with the car more than I wanted since yesterday morning. The rear sliding, combined with the lack of top speed, eventually made things very tricky during the race.
“Taking everything into consideration, P6 is a decent result but that’s not what we are here for. We will have to keep improving to make sure next year we can fight for the top spot. Congratulations to McLaren on the one-two finish. Today they deserve that result and I can’t wait to race against them in Russia.“