Formula 1

Charles Leclerc: “All in all, we had a good weekend here in Miami”

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Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre

Charles Leclerc admitted he was disappointed to miss out on victory to Max Verstappen in the inaugural Miami Grand Prix on Sunday, but the Monegasque racer felt he had a good weekend overall in the Florida city.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver started on pole position at the Miami International Autodrome and held onto the lead at the start, but he fell behind Verstappen on lap nine as the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver made better use of his starting medium compound tyres.

Leclerc did not let Verstappen get away from him and challenged him again at the restart following the safety car, but he did not have the straight-line speed necessary to be in with a chance of repassing the Dutchman.

“All in all, we had a good weekend here in Miami, so of course I am disappointed to miss out on first place,” said Leclerc. “While we had good pace on the Hard tyres, it was more tricky for us on the Mediums which our competitors were just faster on today, so we couldn’t close the gap in the first stint.

“I thought we’d have a shot at taking back the lead after the Safety Car, but it just wasn’t enough today.”

Leclerc was full of praise for the fans in attendance in Miami as they brought an amazing feel to the weekend, and he cannot wait for the event to return there in 2023.

I thought the atmosphere was amazing this weekend and there was a really great show around the race and I look forward to coming back!” the Monegasque driver added.

“I think I needed a race like this to reset a bit” – Carlos Sainz Jr.

Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. completed the podium in third place, with the Spaniard delighted to end his run of retirements with a return to the top three despite issues with his neck following his crash on Friday.

Sainz was forced to withstand pressure from Sergio Pérez in the closing laps after the Mexican pitted for fresh tyres behind the safety car, but he held off the Red Bull driver to secure the final spot on the podium.

The Spaniard said he needed a race like the one in Miami after retiring from both the Australian and Emilia Romagna Grand Prix early on and bring home a strong result that the team deserves.

“After a couple of eventful GPs, it’s good to be back on the podium and to have both cars up there for the team,” said Sainz.  “In general, it was a solid race but also a very tough one. The neck is still not 100% and half way through the race it became a limitation. 

“Defending from Checo (Perez) who was on new Mediums after the restart was also very tough and the slightest mistake would have meant losing P3. I managed to fend him off well and the podium was the reward.

“I think I needed a race like this to reset a bit and build on it for the upcoming races.”

Sainz will now head to his home Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in two weeks time, and he is ready to continue his Miami form in front of his own fans.

“Up next is my home GP and we’ll make sure we get there in the very best,” he said.  “Miami has been a unique weekend. Thanks to all the fans out there for their support!

Carlos Sainz Jr. ended third in Miami – Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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