Charles Leclerc unhappy as Max Verstappen posed to seal championship

Charles Leclerc was beaten to the win by Max Verstappen at the Italian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc was left wondering what might have been after race control could not resume proceedings at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Leclerc started on pole after a brilliant performance on Saturday, and Max Verstappen was pegged back to seventh due to an engine penalty.

The Dutchman made his way back up to second in no time though, and he was beginning to close the gap on the Ferrari.

Leclerc pitted when a Virtual Safety Car was deployed after his former team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, stopped by the side of the track.

READ: Charles Leclerc claims Ferrari were ‘unlucky’, but not because of the Safety Car

The green flags re-emerged when the Monegasque was halfway down the pit lane though, so the Scuderia lost time, giving the advantage to Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver made his one and only scheduled stop later on, and he was closing in on Leclerc, so Ferrari decided to pit their driver again.

He was not really closing the gap by any substantial amount, but a shred of hope was given to the home heroes when Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement caused a full Safety Car.

The marshals could not get the McLaren into neutral though, so the cherry picker had to make its way to an awkward part of the track to retrieve it.

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Meanwhile, Safety Car driver, Bernd Maylander, had been sent out in front of the wrong car, so he had to let several drivers go in order for them to catch back up to leader Verstappen, by which time too many laps had passed.

The race would end under yellow flags, and the fans were denied the entertainment of a grandstand finish.

At the time, Leclerc believed there could have been one more lap when he saw that Ricciardo’s car had been taken away from the Lesmo corners, so he was left ruing the end of the afternoon.

“It’s frustrating, I wish that we did get a bit of racing [at the end] and unfortunately we were second at that stage because of what happened before,” he said.

“It’s a shame but overall I gave it my all to get P2 today, we didn’t know what they were going to do behind so we took that choice.

READ: Calls for Michael Masi to return after disappointing end to 2022 Italian GP

“I finished second, so I am not extremely happy with the race. I think the pace was quite strong today.”

Verstappen’s lead over Leclerc in the championship was extended to 116 points after the Dutchman’s 11th win of the season.

If he does not seal the crown in Singapore next time out, he will almost certainly do so in Suzuka a week later.