Leclerc intends on using Max to ‘overtake cars’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in Monaco. Monaco May 2021

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco May 2021

Joining Max Verstappen at the back of the Sochi grid, Charles Leclerc hopes to use the Red Bull driver to cut his way through the traffic.

Both Leclerc and Verstappen have grid penalties for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, their teams opting to put them onto a fourth hybrid system for the season.

That is an automatic grid penalty with Leclerc set to line up P19 with Verstappen right behind him.

But conceding that it probably won’t be long before Verstappen is ahead of him, Leclerc intends on sticking to the Dutchman’s rear wing and using him to slice his way through the field.

“It is a very difficult track to overtake,” said the Ferrari driver. “I tried during FP2 and it was very difficult.

“It might be a bit easier for Max, he is quite a bit quicker than us. I will try to use him, to just stay behind him and overtake cars with him.”

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The Monégasque driver finished Friday’s second practice down in tenth place, 1.332s off the pace set by Valtteri Bottas.

Although he ran Ferrari’s upgraded engine, the Scuderia are said to have decided not to run it at full power due to reliability concerns. As such Leclerc only has 8hp more than he had with his previous power unit.

He was nonetheless happy with how his Friday played out.


“It went very good, it was a positive day,” Leclerc said.

“Obviously whenever you make a big change for everyone, for the mechanics, for us; it’s a new part so it’s good to see everything was working as expected.

“For now we’ve been focusing mostly on the race because for qualifying we would anyway be starting last, so we’ve done a good job by taking as much information as we could and [I’m] happy with our Friday.”

Leclerc is currently P6 in the Drivers’ Championship with 104 points, his team-mate Carlos Sainz has 97.5.