Charles Leclerc explains throttle issues as he admits he was concerned about reliability

Charles Leclerc beat Max Verstappen to the victory at the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Charles Leclerc encountered issues at the end of the race as he held on to beat Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to victory at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Leclerc had passed polesitter Verstappen after a late move into Turn Four earlier in the afternoon, before going long on strategy after the Dutchman’s stop, with Verstappen pitting once more when the Monegasque passed him.

Leclerc made another stop before once more clearing the Red Bull, and Carlos Sainz was catching back up to Verstappen to re-take second when he suffered a fiery retirement.

This caused a Virtual Safety Car that allowed Leclerc and Verstappen to pit, and Leclerc began to feel issues with his throttle, leading to fears that he too would succumb to yet more reliability problems for the Scuderia.

READ: Charles Leclerc hoping Carlos Sainz will work with him to catch Max Verstappen

But he held off Verstappen, and claimed his third win of the season – his first since the Australian Grand Prix in April.

“It was a really good race,” said Leclerc after his victory.

“I mean, the pace was there, at the beginning we had a good fight with Max, and in the end it was incredibly difficult.

“I had this problem with the throttle, and it would get stuck at twenty or thirty percent throttle in the low speed [corners].

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“So, it was very tricky but we managed to make it stick until the end, and I am so, so happy.”

The Monegasque began to feel his pedal troubles just as he learned that Sainz was out of the race.

“Yeah, weirdly it was more or less at the same time,” explained Leclerc.

“So, of course I had it in my mind; I knew it was not a problem with the engine because it was really the pedal that was feeling weird, first at pickup and then at the end it would not come back to zero.

“But yeah, luckily it went until the end of the race.”

Leclerc’s win moves him back in front of Sergio Perez in the championship after the Mexican retired following contact on the first lap with George Russell.

The 24-year-old is 38 points adrift of Verstappen, who set the fastest lap on Sunday, so the win in Spielberg was a big one.

“I definitely needed that one,” affirmed Leclerc.

“I mean, the last five races have been incredibly difficult for myself but also for the team, obviously.

READ: Mick Schumacher furious with Haas

“And to finally show that we’ve got the pace in the car and that we can do it is incredible so yeah, we need to push until the end.”

Leclerc’s win is his fifth in Formula 1, and the first time he or Ferrari have won two in a row since 2019, when they won three on the trot in Spa, Monza and Singapore.