Leclerc: Styrian GP drive 'one of my best performances in F1'

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Charles Leclerc finished where he started in Sunday's Styrian Grand Prix but the Ferrari driver hailed one of his "best performances" ever in F1 following a spirited recovery drive after an early forced pitstop.

Launching his race from P7, Leclerc was forced to pit at the end of the opening lap after damaging his front wing in a tussle and contact with Pierre Gasly on the run between Turns 1 and 2.

While the Monegasque returned to the fray, the AlphaTauri driver who had suffered a puncture during the contact saw his race done and dusted at the outset.

Rejoining as low as P18, Leclerc engaged in a frantic recovery battle that led him back into the top ten from where he overtook several more rivals to finish seventh just one spot behind Scuderia teammate Carlos Sainz.

The scintillating performance earned him the fans vote for 'Driver of the Day'.

"If we look at the first lap, it's been an incredible race for us and we've been incredibly quick," said Leclerc.

"But obviously there's the first lap that basically stopped us from doing something much much better today."

Leclerc took full advantage of a Ferrari race pace that was surprisingly strong.

"It was a big opportunity, the pace was incredible," he said. "It's probably one of my best performances in Formula 1 today apart from the lap 1. But it's life."

Although he rued his opening lap contact with Gasly, Leclerc preferred to wait until he saw the footage before assessing how the contact had occurred, but reckoned it was a case of shared responsibility, a view supported by the stewards who did not take any action against either driver.

"To be honest I need to watch the images from outside," he added. "I have no idea whether Pierre went a little bit to the left and I went a little bit to the right at the same time.

"I guess it's a bit of both and in the end we touched."

On the back of his strong display, Leclerc said that he was looking forward to next week's second round of racing at the Red Bull Ring.

"I'm really looking forward to next weekend," he said. "Obviously today, again it was really special, it's been a long that we didn't have this type of race pace. So it was good to see."

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