Charles Leclerc reveals huge pace deficit which affected Bahrain Grand Prix result

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc readying himself on the grid.

Charles Leclerc had brake issues in Bahrain.

Charles Leclerc was reportedly missing 0.6s per lap in the first 20 laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix, which cost him a shot at the podium, perhaps even P2.

Starting Saturday’s Bahrain Grand Prix from second on the grid, Leclerc made a short-lived attempt at taking the lead off Max Verstappen only to be run wide around the outside by the canny Red Bull driver.

‘I braked three metres earlier, but I would still lock up’

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

But settling back into second place, Leclerc was locking up and running wide, costing him vital positions including one to his team-mate Carlos Sainz.

The Monégasque driver, who complained about his “dangerous” brakes as his car pulled to the left, brought his SF-24 home in fourth place.

“It was impossible in the first 15 laps, the issue was getting a lot worse over every lap,” Leclerc told media including

“I was obviously basing my braking for Turn 9, 10 on the previous lap, which obviously felt too late all the time, but the issue was getting a lot worse.

“So I braked three metres earlier, but I would still lock up, then at lap 15 or 20 the issue stabilised.

“The team told me on the radio that it was more than 100 degrees between front right and front left, which is huge.

“At that moment, I understood that the best thing I can do is just to bring the car home to the chequered flag.”

But only 17s down on runner-up Sergio Perez at the finish line, it is being reported his brakes may cost him second place as he lost 0.6s per lap because of the problem.

Italian publication reports that “according to the data collected, Leclerc’s performance in the first 15/20 laps was six-tenths per lap slower than the actual potential of his SF-24, something that not only sent the Monégasque back but also influenced his strategy.” recommends

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Team boss Fred Vasseur confirmed Leclerc’s problems, saying: “He had the problem throughout the race, we have to make sure that nothing like this happens again, we have to have clean races.”

He, however, concedes that on a weekend where Ferrari appeared to be closer to Red Bull on pace, they once again dropped the ball.

“The positive is we have compensated 50% of the gap to Red Bull,” said the Frenchman. “The negative is that it is not enough and we had again too many issues during the weekend.”

He added: “We will have a better picture on the global situation after Melbourne, probably. Before then it will be difficult to have a clear picture of the championship, but if we compare one year ago we were one second away and today 0.5secs.

“We have 24 races. Last year we did five poles after last seven races or something like this (actually five in the last nine). It is a very long season. You have room for development.

“We were able to fight for pole, the deg in Bahrain is always huge and we will have other occasion to start from pole and to win races.

“We will continue to push like hell. I am quite pleased with the step we made from 12 months ago and I will continue to push, don’t worry.”

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