Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Ferrari surprised Leclerc salvaged fourth with severe brake temperature problem

Formula 1

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Charles Leclerc’s fourth place in the Bahrain Grand Prix came as a surprise to Ferrari after the braking problems he suffered from the start of the race.

The difference between the temperatures of his front brake discs exceeded 100C at times, the Ferrari driver revealed.

“It was impossible to drive properly,” he told the official F1 channel. “We had big problems with the brakes. We will investigate what happened in order for it to not happen again.

“This obviously was a big issue. In the first 10 laps it was impossible. Every lap I was doing, I would brake, three or four metres earlier. But the issue was getting much, much worse every lap.

“So every time I was basing my feeling on the previous lap, but in the meantime the issue was a lot more. So I would get there and I would lock up like crazy again. So it felt pretty bad.

“Then it stabilised, but in a place that was completely out of the proper window. On the radio the team told me that it was more than 100 degrees split between front right and front left and that stayed for the whole race. So, we were in a very, very bad place.”

Having started second, Leclerc was unable to keep his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr and Sergio Perez’s Red Bull behind him. He also lost a place to George Russell’s Mercedes, but reclaimed fourth from him before the end.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur admitted “it was a bit unexpected” Leclerc was able to take fourth place “with all the issues that we had at the beginning of the race.”

“We had a big difference on the front brake temp and it wasn’t manageable into the car,” he explained. “It meant that he had to suffer like this the first 20 laps. Then at one stage it came back and he was able to have a decent pace the last part of the race.”

Although Carlos Sainz Jnr was able to salvage third place in the team’s other car, Vasseur admitted he had “a bit of a mixed feeling” about their performance in the first race of the season.

“If you compare to already yesterday, we probably missed the pole position. Today we had issues with Charles on track and Carlos was not in the best position at the beginning. He had a very strong comeback, he was very solid all race and at the end we closed part of the gap with Red Bull.

“But it’s not enough and we have to push and to continue to develop. But at least we are scoring good points today.”

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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...

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11 comments on “Ferrari surprised Leclerc salvaged fourth with severe brake temperature problem”

  1. To be honest i thought charles was making mistakes under pressure as was and often is, his trademark.
    But now ferrari let him down, again.

    1. making mistakes under pressure being Leclerc’s trademark is absolutely not true, in fact it’s a myth unsupported by any facts. Ferrari letting him down though is very true. Just at this one circuit, Bahrain, it cost him a dominant win in 2019, a podium in 2023 and 2024

      1. A myth?
        Nope, monaco, baku etc etc.. the list is to long for such a high praised driver.

        1. Yes, a myth. That etc etc. of yours is unconvincing at best. Leclerc makes 1 or 2 mistakes per year maximum, in a difficult car that needs to be driven at 100% all the time to be as fast as it is in his hands, something his team-mates can’t reach, or, in the case of Vettel, both slower and making more mistakes than him. And, for every result lost that was Leclerc’s fault there were 9 others that were lost because of Ferrari incompetence like in 2022 but some people with selective memory only remember Paul Ricard from that year. Go figure

        2. Yes it is a myth. Every driver makes mistakes, Leclerc do not makes more than most plus the more you are on the edge with an iffy non competitive car the more mistakes you make.

  2. Leclerc is a very unlucky guy and when it combines with Ferrari team’s clumsiness, it almost turns into a curse.

  3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    2nd March 2024, 20:54

    I was also quite surprised that he managed to get 4th there and pass Russell. I don’t think he was happy being overtaken so much especially by Carlos.

  4. Let’s see if I’ve got this right: There were three days of testing at this track, then three free practice sessions, then qualifying and Ferrari got the brakes wrong……

    1. I don’t think it’s a simple as that to be honest.

      Given how close the grid was looking to be, combined with cooler temperatures (23 last year, 18-20 this year), I think all teams went for an aggressive cooling set up. Mercedes and Williams suffered engine temp issues, Hamilton and Riccardo seemed to struggle with brakes at stages and Aston were absolutely nowhere.

      I get the impression the temperatures caught a lot of teams out, and that Ferrari went particularly aggressive to secure pole knowing Red Bull’s race pace was impossible to beat.

      1. If there was a brake temp difference that large i think it is an operational failure such has some mechanic forgot to take some air blockage from one of the brakes. That kind of mistakes need disappear from Leclerc garage, he needs to improve his choice of people in his side. Sainz is better than him managing the things outside track.

  5. LEC ran his best quali lap in Q2. Max ran his best lap at the end of Q3, which is more relevant.

    LEC blamed the team for sending him out again in Q1, using a new set of mediums. But actually there was a risk of elimination. They were right to do it.
    Yes he had an issue causing him to lock up a number of times, but he is not a stranger to locking up under pressure tbf.

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