Charles Leclerc’s blunt reply after Ferrari told him about Sergio Perez penalty

Charles Leclerc was just two seconds short of claiming victory at the Singapore GP.

Charles Leclerc didn’t quite have what it took to win the first Singapore Grand Prix since 2019, as the Ferrari driver was beaten comfortably in the end by Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez.

Despite having started on pole, the Ferrari driver led about 30 metres of the race, before being overtaken by Pérez on the short run down to Turn One.

Whilst the initial phase of his launch from the line was equal to the race winner’s, his second phase wasn’t as sharp as Pérez’s, which led to the Mexican driver breezing past with somewhat ease.

Leclerc tried throughout the race to reclaim the race lead; however, the 24-year-old just didn’t have enough to overtake the eventual victor.

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The Ferrari driver did have stronger pace at times but was never quite close enough by the time they reached a braking point to risk a move.

With Pérez appearing to be a roadblock for Leclerc, Ferrari attempted an undercut and switched the Monegasque driver from the Intermediates to the Medium compound, something that failed miserably.

Leclerc’s stop was just over five-seconds as a result of overshooting his pit box, which resulted in his team having to move everything slightly.

Whilst it might not sound like much, it was still enough to cost the second-place finisher valuable seconds.

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It turned out that the circuit still suited the Intermediates over the dry compound, meaning that when Pérez pitted for the Mediums, he exited the pitlane with a bigger gap over Leclerc than he had before.

Tiredness appeared to get the better of the Austrian Grand Prix winner, as Pérez managed to build a seven-second gap in the closing stages of the race following a Safety Car.

The Mexican was also told to speed up by his team, as a result of Pérez being investigated by the stewards after the race for dropping too far behind the Safety Car, on two occasions.

Two hours after the race, it was announced that Pérez would be awarded with a five-second time penalty and two penalty points on his superlicence, but the main thing was that he still claimed his second win of the year.

With the penalty added to the 32-year-old’s time, it meant that he won by just two seconds, something Leclerc may believe now that he was capable of.

He was told by his race engineer towards the end of the two-hour long Grand Prix that the leader had been “told to push”.

Leclerc demanded silence from his team, as he tried to keep up with the blistering late pace set by the race winner.

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“Pérez is told to push for the penalty,” said Leclerc’s race engineer.

“Stop speaking to me…” the Monegasque bluntly replied.

The result means just two points now separate Leclerc and Pérez for second in the Drivers’ Championship, something they’ll both be pushing to achieve.