Charles Leclerc finished best of the rest at the American Grand Prix, after finishing an excellent fourth place at the Circuit of the Americas. Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr finished a frustrating seventh.
It was a long and physical race for the Monegasque driver, who drove brilliantly all race to pull away from those behind. Leclerc didn’t quite have the pace to keep up with Lewis Hamilton and the two Red Bull Racing drivers, meaning it was a lonely afternoon to the flag.
Leclerc leaves America surprised by the strong pace his car demonstrated across the weekend, and believes there was nothing left on the table to challenge for a podium.
“What a race. It was definitely one of the most physical drives of my career. The rear was moving quite a lot and temperatures were high throughout. I am satisfied with my personal performance. I don’t think that I left much on the table today and I really pushed the car to its limit on every lap.Our pace was a positive surprise. Although we are mostly focusing on 2022, the few upgrades we have brought this year have allowed us to make some important steps forward.
“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone back home in Maranello at our factory as well as at the track for all the hard work they have put in. This weekend the result of their efforts has shown.Being back in the United States has been great and it’s been a real pleasure to race on this amazing track again. Next up is Mexico, which I am also very excited for. The track there should suit our car fairly well and we will push to continue on this positive trajectory.”
“I just hope our luck changes” – Carlos Sainz Jr
Carlos Sainz Jr may have wished his race was as lonely as Leclerc’s. The Spaniard was in a near race long battle with Daniel Ricciardo, as well as Lando Norris at the start of the Grand Prix. Sainz had a brilliant opening lap fight with both Mclaren F1 Team drivers, the trio exchanged places on multiple occasions across the opening lap, before settling into the physically demanding race.
Sainz did perhaps have stronger pace than Ricciardo but was unable to pass. Ferrari attempted an undercut on the Australian which would’ve worked, had it not been for a slow pit-stop. In the end a late charging Valtteri Bottas powered his way past Sainz, who damaged his tyres trying to get past the Honey Badger.
The Spaniard was frustrated to have finished seventh after believing fifth was very much on the cards, Sainz is hoping that a slow pit-stop won’t cost his chances again in the remaining races.
“It was a frustrating race for me because we had the pace to finish P5 but things didn’t go our way today. I had to fight with both McLarens on lap 1. It was an intense battle, with cars switching positions a lot, and in the end I let Ricciardo by thinking it was Lando.In the second stint, I was soon behind Daniel: we went for the undercut and it would have worked very nicely, overtaking him and having clean air behind Charles, but unfortunately we had a slow pit-stop and I was again stuck behind Daniel.
“I damaged my tyres trying different lines to pass him and eventually that allowed Bottas to catch us at the end.I’m frustrated because the result did not live up to the potential of our package and I just hope our luck changes a bit after two consecutive races with unfortunate stops. On the positive side, the feeling with the car was good, so we’ll carry that into the upcoming triple header.”