Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

'I was not expecting that': Charles Leclerc puzzled by Ferrari's dismal slump at United States Grand Prix

Italian team struggle with performance and breakdown as Mercedes run away with race

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc leaves the pits during the US Grand Prix, where he struggled to finish in fourth place. AP
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc leaves the pits during the US Grand Prix, where he struggled to finish in fourth place. AP

Charles Leclerc admitted he was baffled by Ferrari's dramatic slump at the United States Grand Prix after he finished a distant fourth and teammate Sebastian Vettel retired with suspension failure.

The Italian team had reeled off six successive pole positions before their arrival at the Circuit of the Americas, where Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas took pole and won the race, followed home by newly-crowned six-time world champion and teammate Lewis Hamilton.

"I was not expecting that," said Leclerc. "It did not seem right. The first stint was extremely hard and I believe this was the main problem of the race, but to be completely honest I have no explanation.

"The front left felt very weird. We need to analyse that because I've never had this feeling before. I'm pretty sure something was not right on this stint. Then on the two others the pace was not as bad."

Vettel said he had no explanation for his car's breakdown. "I had a decent start, I was just on the dirty side - and then I had no place to go at turn one.

"I was really struggling for grip, especially at right-handers. It was a very different car, so I asked if they had seen something or if something is broken.

"A couple of laps after that we had the failure. I assume that it must have been an issue before. I don't know if it's related to the track, but on the other hand we've done so many laps. Why now?"

Updated: November 4, 2019 11:13 AM

SHARE

SHARE