Leclerc shrugs off late penalty, but 'frustrated' with gap to Red Bull

© XPB 

Charles Leclerc brushed off a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane that cost him P5 in the final laps of the Belgian Grand Prix, but the Ferrari driver admitted to being frustrated by his team's deficit to Red Bull at Spa.

From P15 on the grid, Leclerc had hauled himself up to fifth by lap 14 of 44 despite an early stop during the safety car period to evacuate a visor tear-off from a brake duct of his Ferrari.

But P5 was as good as it would get for the Monegasque who could not get the measure of Mercedes' George Russell up ahead, let alone catch up with his Scuderia teammate Carlos Sainz who finished P3.

However, Leclerc's lead over Alpine's Fernando Alonso encouraged Ferrari to pit him with two laps remaining to try and seize a point for the fastest race lap.


As Leclerc rejoined the track, Alonso slipstreamed past the Ferrari on the run up to Les Combes, but Leclerc was able to return the favour on the final lap and finish fifth, just ahead the Spaniard, albeit without setting the fastest lap of the race.

However, the pitlane speed limit penalty demoted the Scuderia charger to sixth in the final results.

Leclerc said it was a small mistake that had "nothing to do with the team", adding that he didn't feel thwarted by Ferrari's decision to bring him in with two laps to.

"At the end, it’s more frustrating to see the delta of pace there was between Red Bull and us, which is the thing we need to work on," he said.

"If you look at Red Bull, they were on another level, and they found something this weekend that is a bit worrying for us."

With a 93-point deficit to Verstappen in the Drivers' standings, and a 118-point gap between Red Bull and Ferrari in the Constructors' standings, Leclerc conceded that both championships were "definitely looking extremely difficult now".

"For now, we don’t exactly understand [it]," he said.

"They are still extremely quick in the straights, it looks like they have no downforce, but then they get into the corner and they are as quick as us, or quicker.

"So it’s a bit worrying."

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