Charles Leclerc says the hardest part of the Azerbaijan GP was the period after the safety car that came out after the Lance Stroll accident and that he thought he would not reach the finish line due to a damaged tire, but he is happy for the ‘pleasant surprise’ in qualifying he won the second consecutive pole position.
Leclerc won his second pole position this season and ninth in his F1 career on Saturday after seven pole positions in 2019, but he was not the leader in the race for long as he was overtaken in the first eight laps by Hamilton, Verstappen, and Perez in faster Mercedes and Red Bull cars.
The Ferrari driver later lost positions to both Vettel in Aston Martin and Gasly in AlphaTauri with whom he had a big fight in the last two laps, but in the end, still failed to win the podium. With fourth and eighth place Ferrari overtook McLaren in the fight for third place in the constructors' standings and now have two points more than their rivals from Woking.
“Before coming to Baku, fourth place was the place where we more or less expected to finish the race,” said Leclerc, who is fifth in the drivers ’standings after six races.
“The first surprise of the weekend was our pole position.
And the other surprise was that some of our rivals in the middle of the standings were extremely fast. ” "Even though we started ahead, we knew we could be overtaken by the drivers of the top two teams, which we did."
“After the first boxes, I tried to do the best I could. I blocked the wheels after a restart after pulling the safety car, and continuing to drive with two damage on the tire was the hardest part of the race. ” "I really thought I wasn't going to get there."
“Then we had a red flag and I thought I could get to the podium. But unfortunately, we did not succeed. " “Seb did an amazing job, congratulations. The same goes for Pierre, it was a fierce fight with him until the very end!
” "We will continue to work hard and push in the right direction." Certainly, Leclerc can do much more this season, given that he has shown great potential and is expected to have a great future. Additional focus and confidence will be crucial in the rest of the season