“I was catching quite quickly at the end,” said Leclerc. “The car felt pretty good.
“I had paid quite a lot of attention to both axles of tyres before and I was just focusing on the end of the race, to have the tyres in quite a good shape and I think on that we did quite a good job. To be honest though I did not expect to catch Valtteri.”
Leclerc was eight seconds behind Bottas with eight laps to go but started the final lap within DRS range of the Mercedes.
“It was a good surprise and when I saw that I pushed even more,” he said. “At the end we finished very, very close. I tried to show myself in the inside of the last corner, but obviously I was too far [away] to try something.”
Bottas revealed Leclerc was able to catch him because he was having trouble with his tyres, which was aggravated by the Virtual Safety Car period.
“We were suffering with some front tyres blistering in the last stint. We were a little bit concerned and just wanted to be on the safe side so we would definitely make it to the end without any failure on the front tyre.
“So had take care a lot of the fronts in many of the corners and maybe being a lot on the conservative side, losing some big chunks of time, just by managing and being on the safe side.
“In the end, that’s why it became a bit close with Charles, closer than we wanted. After the VSC we struggled a bit to re-start the tyres and lost some temperature.”
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2019 F1 season
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