(L to R): Sergio Perez, Red Bull; Charles Leclerc, Ferrari; Silverstone, 2022

Leclerc says fight with Hamilton and Perez was “on the limit”

2022 British Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said his fight to keep his place on the podium at the end of the British Grand Prix was “on the limit”.

The Ferrari driver lost the lead of the race to his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr after Ferrari decided not to pit him during a Safety Car period. Sainz did come in and took on a new set of soft tyres which helped him to pass his team mate on worn hard rubber.

Leclerc then came under attack from Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez, who had also fitted fresh soft tyres during the Safety Car period. He defended hard but eventually lost position to both drivers and came in fourth.

The stewards noted multiple incidents during their fight, including one where Leclerc ran wide at turn 15, but eventually decided not to investigate any of them. Leclerc said the fight was “quite on the limit.”

“I had to be on the limit to try and and keep my positions,” he explained. “I don’t think I could have done much better than that. It was fun, on the other hand I was very frustrated.”

“In my position, I was on used tyres and all of this was very, very tricky,” he added. “So I just had to use everything that was possible.

“I was always checking that Lewis was a bit behind at the apex, to try and remember the rule and to play with the rules. So I tried to do my best.”

Leclerc successfully passed Hamilton around the outside of the high-speed Copse corner. The pair exchanged places at the same turn last year, where Hamilton also collided with Max Verstappen.

“It was incredibly tricky,” said Leclerc, “and actually as soon as I passed the corner I look in my mirror and I had a flashback of last year.”

Team principal Mattia Binotto gave Leclerc some encouraging words after the race but the driver admitted “the disappointment is big for me today.”

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a race. The first lap I broke the front wing and I thought that was over, there was quite a lot of understeer. Then I managed to play around with my toggles and I managed to have a bit more of a strong front.

“Then the pace came back and we were very strong and then the win was feeling more and more possible. Then obviously the Safety Car and that was it, so it’s frustrating.”

Having won two of the first three races, Leclerc hasn’t won since. He said his misfortune is “costing us a lot of points.”

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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26 comments on “Leclerc says fight with Hamilton and Perez was “on the limit””

  1. The overtake from the outside on Hamilton at Copse was a masterpiece

    1. I thought both Hamilton and Leclerc drove a great race and both deserved a win.

      I’d like to see a comparison of last year’s crash (VER-HAM), compared to this move. There was so much debate about positioning and who was in the wrong, while it was shown this year that it could be done.

      1. Hard to compare but overtaking at Copse happens more regularly than Red Bull would have us believe. Bottas on Hamilton in 2019 (I think) for example.

        It was great racing, very exciting to watch.

      2. Driver61 made a video last year after the collision to show many other previous instances of overtaking at Copse. Don’t believe anything that comes out of Horner’s or Marko’s mouths. They will say anything to strengthen their position, be it true or blatantly false.

        1. I looked it up, but I could only find this one (and this one from Chain Bear).

        2. You are right about these two but in this case in their defense the statement was not about no overtaking in copse but about sticking a wheel inside and as a result of under steer hitting the one on the outside. Lewis later in 2021 and again in 2022 proved on Leclerc that two can finish that corner as long as he stays on the inside. In both instances the Ferrari left even less room than Verstappen did, yet miraculously Lewis did not hit those cars.

      3. Both drivers drove hard but fair. What you didn’t see was one driver turning in on the other as soon as he got his noise in front. Just goes to show what’s possible when you drive with respect for the other.

        1. Yip, Hamilton took a much tighter line this year – learnt from his mistake, or atleast is prepared to give Charles some respect but not Max….

          Max was much further ahead than Charles… I think we all know that Hamilton knew what he had do, he could not afford to let the Redbull get away….

          1. It’s easily overlooked by his UK fan base but it was clear from the start something went wrong inside Lewis’ head the moment Max entered the scene. Calling him ‘this guy’ (just like an old dog can ignore a new puppy in a household), coming up with stories about dangerous driving while he conveniently forgot Lauda called Lewis out just the same when he entered the sport. It was clear Lewis recognized the wind would change. Lewis did not do himself a favor, should have taken the high ground, instead created a platform for Max by recognizing him through his mind games. Previously he found no worthy adversary to mess around with. I will never understand why Lewis got so upset and did not chose to embrace new talent. It diminishes (to me) his status while it would have been so incredibly easy to embrace it and be the moral winner because of it. Why does he feel he needs to prove anything?

      4. This year lewis showed he learned. He pulled out of the fight and let Lec take the corner. Last year he tried to hard and took out VER doing so.
        Already one mercedes pushed a driver to the hospital yesterday. two would have been a bit overdone.

  2. Great racing with no contact, some moves were questionable but overall reasonable. Glad Checo has a decent car otherwise we wouldn’t be getting some of these quality scraps.

  3. Any news on why Perez was allowed to run off the circuit to pass Leclerc, gain a lasting advantage and didn’t receive a penalty for it?

    1. He drives a Red Bull

    2. they investigated as a precaution in case others complain and to satisfy rules as if they mean something… dive bombed and drove lec off, dive bombed and drove ham off. and magically nothing naughty was found! if he drove off 5 secs ahead they would give him a penalty but it was too risky… oh well, you dont expect fia to change over night…

    3. I am surprised as well, but my theory is that stewards determined Perez did not gain advantage, he actually lost a position (to HAM) and the reason why he “passed” LEC was because LEC drove himself out of the track, the “advantage” – if any – was obtained by LEC going out of bounds and not for PER driving off the track. When they fully got out of the corner LEC was still in front – by a small margin- of PER, then LEC’s tires couldn’t keep the Ferrari on the track.

      The Fact that LEC and/or Ferrari did not dispute the move and HAM hasn’t said a word about getting “pushed out of track” as some HAM fan said here, give reason to the FIA / Stewards

    4. To gain an advantage there must be an actual advantage. There was none.

  4. Here was I thinking how Hamilton was the name of the day with such a strong drive when this bloke comes and blows me away. What a drive, seriously! His defence moves today were something else. He had everything against him and still showed everybody who’s boss. It’s a shame he may never win a WDC in such an over glorified team, but moves like that shows me he’s more than ready.

    1. +1 Leclerc driving was a masterpiece.

      And lacking an end plane in the front wing.

  5. Perez was literally over the limit

    1. Literally!

  6. Some great racing and duals except FIA Have to be more consistant with the rules. I saw maybe 2 or 3 moves that were illegal. Going off track and gaining an advantage or place etc. While entertaining. Wrong is wrong.

    1. Indeed, I actually think Hamilton was the only one of the three that didn’t cross the limit and the only reason Perez got back in front of Hamilton was he put in the throttle hard when he ran wide off the circuit so he got a better exit than Hamilton who cut beneath Perez and Leclerc. I think Hamilton deserved second for that reason but I can see why the FIA just threw in the towel and tried to call it tit for tat. We already know though that the show is more important than a fair contest to the current runners of the sport.

  7. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    4th July 2022, 10:39

    It starts a slippery slope. Alonso wants to know why Leclerc got away without penalty for weaving against Hamilton.

    Even if any penalties cancel themselves out they need to be given in order to keep consistency, IMO. Two wrongs and all that.

    Next race same sort of racing, will there be penalties?

  8. Leclerc and Hamilton should have kept this until the end of the race. That was the best wheel to wheel racing since Perez and Ocon in Portgual 2020. I could not believe that they managed it so well to avoid any slight contact.

  9. Perez again destroying Hamilton’s hopes of passing him

Comments are closed.