Binotto says Ferrari made sure Leclerc had time to ‘digest’ bad news

Charles Leclerc recovered from P19 to fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix after taking an engine penalty.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has revealed that Charles Leclerc was told not long after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that he would be taking a penalty in Canada last weekend.

For the second time in three races, Leclerc lost a win because of a reliability failure and, sandwiched in between Barcelona and Baku was Monaco, where a series of strategic errors by Ferrari saw him go from pole to fourth.

The Monegasque needed an entirely new power unit fitted for Montreal, which incurred a penalty that would see him start on the last row regardless of where he qualified.

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Yuki Tsunoda took the same penalty in the AlphaTauri, so Leclerc would start 19th, before recovering to fifth in the race, passing the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in the closing stages.

The 24-year-old was told of his penalty long before Canada so that he could prepare to get his elbows out and do some racing on Sunday.

“It’s something we decided very soon after Baku, so it was something he was aware of for many days and he had time to digest and be prepared for the race weekend,” said Binotto.

“It’s certainly a frustrating situation for a driver, and the race would require to control a lot of passion which has been the case, because sometimes you would like to overtake when you cannot because of the speed on the straight or the tyres are worn.

“We limited the damage starting from the back, and finishing fifth is still a good race result.”

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With a new engine in the back of the F1-75, it will be full steam ahead for the next few rounds of the season for Leclerc.

“Now we have got a fresh power unit for the next races certainly,” explained Binotto.

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“The four races before the summer break will be important for him, certainly, where he can attack and let’s try to recover some points where we can.”

Leclerc is now 49 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen, who narrowly beat the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz to victory last weekend.