Charles Leclerc’s extreme efforts fail to prevent Ferrari embarrassment

Mercedes pipped Ferrari to second in the Constructors' Championship by just three points at the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP.

Charles Leclerc did everything that he could on Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to try and help Ferrari defeat Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, something the Italians ultimately failed to do.

With Red Bull and Max Verstappen having sealed both titles a lifetime ago, all the attention at the Yas Marina Circuit was on the fight for second Constructors’ Standings.

Mercedes entered the finale with a four-point advantage over Ferrari but it was Leclerc who started in the best position.

Leclerc started the race in second with George Russell not too far behind in fourth; as for Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz, they slotted into 11th and 16th on the grid.

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Sainz had little impact on Ferrari’s fight as he failed to score a point, with him having ended up retiring from the race in the closing laps once it became apparent that he wouldn’t finish in the top-10.

Hamilton also had very little involvement in the fight for P2, as he only recovered to ninth.

It was ultimately all between Leclerc and Russell, who jostled for position for a large portion of the race.

Both drivers gave it their all; however, Leclerc was aware that if he claimed second with Russell in third, then Mercedes would be victorious in terms of P2 in the standings.

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Sergio Perez catching Russell in the closing laps was Ferrari’s lifeline, although the Mexican did have a five-second time penalty for colliding with Lando Norris.

In the closing laps, Leclerc got onto the radio to inform Ferrari that he’d try and give Perez slipstream and then P2, so that he could have clean air and build a five-second advantage over Russell.

“Tell me the gap between Checo and Russell!” Leclerc said over the radio.

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“If there is less than five seconds I will give him the slipstream and let him past.”

This is exactly what Leclerc did, although Russell was still able to remain within five seconds of the Red Bull driver.

Leclerc did everything he could but it just wasn’t quite enough, as he finished in P2 ahead of Russell and Perez, which was enough for Mercedes to claim second by just three points.