Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2021

Bittersweet second place for Leclerc after leading most of British Grand Prix

2021 British Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said he couldn’t “100 percent” enjoy coming second, after leading fifty laps of the British Grand Prix.

Leclerc took the lead on lap one, following a collision between Lewis Hamilton and title leader Max Verstappen that saw the Red Bull driver crash out of the race.

After a red flag period, Leclerc held off Hamilton on the standing restart and was ahead for most of the race distance, Hamilton passing him on lap 50 after the Mercedes driver had recovered from a ten-second penalty for the collision with Verstappen.

“It’s difficult to enjoy 100 percent,” said Leclerc, about his second-place finish. “Of course, it’s been an incredible race, I gave not 100 percent, but I gave 200 percent. I gave all of me.

“But it was just not enough in the last two laps. So congratulations to Lewis, he did an incredible job. And it’s amazing to see as many fans in the grandstand.

“It was hard in the car but [we] lacked just a little bit of pace, in the end.”

Leclerc said that, coming into the weekend, he would not have predicted Ferrari’s pace around Silverstone. “We definitely did not expect it.

“We expected, after qualifying, to be quite competitive but not as competitive as now.

“We’ve been fighting for the win, which was incredible. Especially on the mediums, we were extremely quick, then on the hards we lacked a little bit of pace compared to the Mercedes but overall, it’s much stronger than what we are used to.”

Leclerc’s podium is Ferrari’s second second-place finish of the season, after Carlos Sainz Jnr finished in the same position in Monaco, also disappointed not to have won.

The results, although frustrating to the drivers, are still buoying to the Ferrari team, Leclerc said.

“The team is working incredibly well. So I am very proud of the team. Of course, it is great to have these type of races, it cheers up everyone.

“There’s a lot of work and it shows that we are doing something right and that we are working in the right direction.

“So we need to keep going like this. It won’t be a smooth ride until we are getting back at the top, but we’ll give everything.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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19 comments on “Bittersweet second place for Leclerc after leading most of British Grand Prix”

  1. I really believed Leclerc had it. The Ferrari didn’t like the hards as much as the mediums.

    1. @carbon_fibre
      I did too :( Really gutted for him, as he lead basically the whole race. It seemed like Charles never managed to get them into their optimal operating window, as he also lost time in those corners, where he previously gained time on Hamilton on the mediums.
      Hamilton was just ridiculously fast on the Hards, much faster than even Bottas.

    2. Yes, I thought so too. Extraordinary drive by leclerc, that is a 10\10 race if there’s been one, red bull and merc had about 15 sec margin on ferrari given equal driver for the entirety of the race, and then ferrari had a few more sec on mclaren, which was also surprising by ferrari, given the track features. I wonder if they can do well in hungary too, they were good on slow tracks this year so far.

  2. Well, to be honest Hamilton didn’t take the win away from Leclerc, he actually gave him the 2nd place by bumping Verstappen out of the race. Then he himself was given the win by Bottas enabling him to take it from Leclerc.

  3. I do wonder if he could have held for the win without the earlier mapping issues that cost him a little time. It wasn’t a big time loss, but if it had changed how Ferrari were running the engine, it may have had an effect through the rest of the race.

    1. Leclerc lost some 2s from the problem itself. Later they put the engine on a conservative position just to be safe. They wouldn’t do it in normal circumstances. His time improved by 0.5s a lap when they went back to full power, if we think that he lost 0.3s a lap for 20 laps would be 6s. Surely Lewis wouldn’t even try to close if Charles were performing better and with a bit more advantage (as I put above, 8 more seconds maybe). It’s a pity. He and Ferrari deserved the win.

  4. What is with Charles and disappointing podiums. His 1st podium in F1, P3 in Bahrain 2018 was gutting. His 1st win again was sombre.

    And now his 1st podium of 2021 again so bittersweet.

    Without the engine problems, he would have definitely had additional 1-2 seconds which means he would have been closer to the back markers and the resultant DRS and blue flags would have ensured he won.

    So gutted. Deserved the win more than Lewis.

  5. Shame he had those issues, but it was a great race for Leclerc. Prior to the start there was no way Ferrari was getting on the podium so a second place is very good. Sainz was also strong, but unlucky to be punted off yesterday and then the pitstop issue today. Pretty good weekend for Ferrari, although they’re still far behind where that team should be.

  6. What a shame for Charles! It was nearly the perfect weekend for him: Best of the rest (and beating Perez) in qualifying on Friday, then 4th again in the sprint, passing Bottas at the start and capitalizing on the crash in Copse, again acing the standing re-start and pulling a small gap to Hamilton in the first stint (despite the PU issues), only to get overtaken 2 laps before the end by Hamilton, who was just ridiculously fast on the hards.

    I wonder what might have happened, if there was completely free choice of tires (if they could stay on the same compound and not use another specification, i.e. medium-medium). Charles might have had an easier job against Hamilton, if that were the case. But it is what it is, still an outstanding drive by Charles and Ferrari (Carlos did great as well! Shame for the slow pit stop, which cost him at least 1 position).

  7. Fantastic performance again from Leclerc. Really knows how to lead a race. Shame with the engine trouble and unlucky backmarkers at the end or it might just have worked out.

  8. Charles will get it next time, unless Germany has other plans…

  9. pastaman (@)
    18th July 2021, 19:34

    Driver of the weekend

    1. Without a doubt.

  10. Jockey Ewing
    18th July 2021, 19:59

    I don’t remember: if the pit blunder (something like +10s) for Sainz not happens, had Sainz some chance to return onto the track in 2rd or 3rd position? So without that blunder Ferrari might have had a chance to defend Leclerc a bit more from Hamilton’s attack? Given Sainz’s and the car’s nice form at this weekend, that might have beeen enough.

    1. No, Carlos was about 7 seconds ahead of Bottas and 11 ahead of Norris. He would have probably hunted down Norris in the closing stages of the race, but probably remained behind him.
      His slow pit stop didn’t impact Charles’ result at all.

      1. Jockey Ewing
        19th July 2021, 1:30

        Ty. At least it was interesting to see both Ferraris ahead of a Mercedes for a while, especially before the closing stages of the race.

  11. Another great race for Lecrec. Clearly Ferrari is not a winning car, yet. Therefore his second place is like a victory.
    He continues to show that if he ever has the right car in his career, he will be champion.

  12. You know what… The result is so unsatisfying today… It’s not just that it feels unfair a championship contender was taken out of the race and the penalty ended up not mattering. It’s that the sport has become so full of gimmicks that benefit only the fastest team: You get extra points for sprint qualifying on top of already being on pole. You get extra points for fastest lap, although as fans we never get to enjoy the fastest lap, and only the driver with enough gap can actually go for them. You have artificial tyre rules that benefit only those who are fast enough get to Q3 on the harder compound. The car changes from year to year are limited by tokens so whatever advantage or disadvantage is locked for one more year. It’s almost as if the sport is designed so that whoever is dominating does so in the most humiliating way to other contenders. Sure, Lewis is a great driver and was able to close a gap that Bottas couldn’t but he drives a fricking Mercedes, and a 10 second penalty just doesn’t matter.

    1. Indeed, at least leclerc should’ve won.

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