Leclerc: “We managed the race well, but the safety car affected us”


Charles Leclerc thinks he made the right decision not to pit in the virtual safety car to protect teammate Carlos Sainz at the Singapore Grand Prix.

After Esteban Ocon's car broke down, the virtual safety car came out and the Mercedes pilots entered the pits. Leclerc also wanted to pit at the start, but the team told him to stay on the track.

When the race restarted, both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton easily passed Leclerc, using their tire advantage.

"It was difficult to defend with the hard tyre, but to be honest I think we managed the race well," said Leclerc. said.

“This was what had to be done to keep Carlos from losing the lead.”

"But unfortunately after the safety car I lost four or five positions."

“I was trying to do the best I could on the hard tyre, but as soon as George and Lewis passed me it was all about taking the car all the way.”

Leclerc started the race on soft tires and some thought he was sacrificed to protect teammate Carlos Sainz.

However, the Monegasque explained that it was his decision to start on this tyre: “I changed my mind at the last moment to make sure I was ahead of George in the first stage.”

He was forced to reduce his pace even further in the closing stages, which put him under threat from Verstappen, who finished just 0.264 seconds behind him.

"The car was overheating everywhere, so I had a delicate pace," Leclerc said. said.

“We knew it was critical and I was aware of Singapore too, so once the two Mercedes passed me there wasn't much to gain by pushing anymore.”