Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc described his fight for victory with Max Verstappen at the Saudi Grand Prix as a ‘tough but fair race’. The Monegasque started from the second position in the second race of the season.
He held that spot until Perez decided to go to the pit. Soon a safety car came out on the track, so Leclerc had a free tire change. He seized the opportunity and took the lead, while Perez's teammate Max Verstappen also took advantage of this turn of events.
Leclerc then slowly set out to build an advantage over Verstappen. The Dutchman slowly began to approach, so in the last ten laps, there was a new wheel-to-wheel fight between them. The Ferrari driver and Red Bull strategically used DRS rules to keep each other in the rearview mirror.
In the end, Verstappen was more skillful, taking the first position and holding it until the end, but the advantage was only half a second. In such a strong fight between the two of them, there were no unwanted scenes, but it was a difficult but fair fight.
Leclerc says he enjoyed a close fight with Verstappen. "Oh my God, I really enjoyed that race," Leclerc said. “Again, it was a tough race, but fair. Every race should be like this. "
Ferrari driver was disappointed
The Ferrari driver admitted that he was "of course disappointed" that he missed the second consecutive victory, but he believes that Ferrari's higher downforce settings may have ultimately made a difference.
“We had two very different configurations, with Max and Checo and both Ferraris,” he explained. “We were pretty fast in the corners, but pretty slow in the straight because we put more downforce, so it was hard for me to cover Max in the direction.
But that's the way it is. He did a great job and it was a fun race. " Immediately after the race, Leclerc was seen showing Verstappen a thumbs up as a sign of congratulations on the victory. The Monegasque assures that there is mutual respect between the two drivers.
"It's always been there, especially when you finish a race like this. Honestly, we’re on a street track, we’ve pushed as we’ve rarely pressed before, to the absolute limit and in the end, we took a risk.
So, of course, there is respect, but I'm a little disappointed, "said Leclerc. Ferrari looks great this season and seems to be the main favorites for the title