Charles Leclerc admitted he could not hide his disappointment after he was forced to play second fiddle to Singapore race winner Carlos Sainz.
From the first lap, the sole purpose of Leclerc’s race appeared to be to protect Sainz with him agreeing to drop his pace in order to increase the gap between his team-mate and the rest of the field.
But for a driver who many would have considered the number one in the team last year, it is something of a climbdown for Leclerc who has been outclassed by Sainz of late.
Charles Leclerc laments Saturday showing in Singapore
Leclerc’s night went from bad to worse as having agreed to slow down, he then suffered an awful pit stop as Ferrari attempted a double stack under the Safety Car.
In the end Leclerc would finish fourth, up one place after Russell’s late crash, but even with Sainz’s victory, Leclerc could not hide his disappointment.
“It means a lot,” Leclerc told Sky Sports F1 of preventing Red Bull’s unbeaten season. “Especially with all the hard work that has been done on a high downforce track. It’s amazing but then, of course, I cannot hide my disappointment.
“Because on my side I wish I had done a better result today but in the end it was up to me to do a better job yesterday. We know that it’s like this in Singapore and we managed it.
“We managed the race perfectly as Carlos managed to have the win so that is a really good positive point for this year after all the hard work. It’s a great reward for the hard work of the team.”
But it was Leclerc’s failure on Saturday that he was most frustrated with, admitting that he was “on the back foot” during Sunday’s grand prix.
“I knew that this race was going to be difficult for me in the first place,” the Monégasque said. “It was all about trying to protect Carlos in order for me to stop before him, so to leave a gap.
“Then we had a Safety Car so we had to do a double stack. I had traffic to go out [into] so I lost I think three positions. I was second and I was fifth after that. So then that puts us quite a bit on the backfoot.
“I struggled to restart with the tyres and traffic in general and after that, I knew it was going to be a difficult race from that moment onwards.”