Leclerc hindered by ‘huge’ brake temperature split in Bahrain GP

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Charles Leclerc has revealed the dramatically overheating brake issues he experienced during today's Bahrain Grand Prix which meant he missed out on a podium finish in the season opener.

Leclerc had qualified in second position on Friday, meaning that he lined up alongside pole sitter Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the front row for the start of the race.

he came close to beating his rival into the first corner but eventually had to back off. As Verstappen started pulling away into the distance, Leclerc then started to experience a number of serious front wheel lock-ups.

It meant that he soon lost a position to Mercedes' George Russell and then to Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull, and his own team mate Carlos Sainz who muscled his way past a few minutes later.

After the race, Leclerc told the media that the lock-ups had been due to uneven brake temperatures. "It was impossible in the first 15 laps, the issue was getting a lot worse every lap," Leclerc said when interviewed in the paddock.

“I was always trying to anticipate the brakes, but wherever I was the issue was bigger, locking up again,"he said. "I was basing my braking for turn 9 to 10 with the previous lap, which obviously fell too late all the time.

"Every time I would brake three meters earlier but I would still lock up," he continued. "The issue was getting a lot worse. At least I knew there was an issue and I knew what to expect, but it still felt horrible.

"The team told me on the radio that there was more than 100 degrees split between from front right and front left, which is huge," he said, "I had to change completely the brake balance, the engine braking to try and counter the front right brake that wasn't working properly.

"At that moment, I understood that the best thing I could do was just to bring the car home to the chequered flag," he said. In fact he was able to do a little better than that, fighting his way back past an ailing Russell to secure P4.


Leclerc said that the outcome had been a surprise, "considering that the issue didn't get any better throughout the whole race", adding: "Then at lap 15 or 20, the issue stabilised. We started to be more consistent when the issue didn't worsen on every lap.

"I was quite surprised when I was hearing the pace at the end of the race," he admitted. "We were doing relatively good lap times with a car that was feeling completely out of place.

"The pace was better than what I expected with an issue like this," he added, adding that the issue made it difficult to know what the true speed of the SF-24 was likely to be.

Leclerc said that the brake issue wasn't one that he or the team had experienced in development and testing up till now. Ferrari will now analyse the data to see if a permanent fix is required in time for next weekend's Saudi Arabian GP.

"Considering everything, finishing fourth is a really good effort," he said. "But I'm very disappointed with the results, I honestly think that second place would have been very possible today."

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