Leclerc enjoyed ‘fun’ end to Canada GP after DRS train frustration

Charles Leclerc recovered from P19 to fifth in Canada as team-mate Carlos Sainz narrowly lost out on the win to Max Verstappen.

Charles Leclerc was pleased to recover to fifth place in Canada on Sunday after spending portions of the race stuck in DRS trains.

Leclerc picked up an engine penalty ahead of the weekend that saw him start on the back row of the grid in 19th as Max Verstappen took pole, and he gained handful of positions in the opening few laps of the race.

As the pit stops shook out around him, the Monegasque went long on Hards in the hope of a Safety Car allowing him to make a cheap stop, but Alpine’s Esteban Ocon had the same idea, so Leclerc was stuck behind the Frenchman for large portions of the race.

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The 24-year-old eventually made his stop just before Yuki Tsunoda caused a Safety Car, allowing Ocon and Fernando Alonso to pit, putting both of them back in front.

In the end though, Leclerc was able to clear both of them and take fifth place behind the Mercedes of George Russell following an excellent recovery from the back.

“The last part was nice but obviously the very first part I was stuck in a DRS train and I could not do anything,” explained Leclerc, speaking to Sky Sports.

“Then in the middle part of the race I found myself stuck behind Esteban who had much newer tyres.

“So out of Turn 10 where the tyres are actually making the difference, he had very good traction and that was enough for him to keep me behind all the time.

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“It was just about being patient and thinking about the end of the race. 

“Then we did the pitstop thinking that we had cleared the traffic behind but we had a slow pitstop and we fell back into another DRS train so we had to redo the job again.

“Then the end was quite fun. I had to be a bit more aggressive to at least get some points and we finished fifth in the end which is the best considering everything that happened today.”

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Verstappen took the win after withstanding heavy pressure from the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz late on, but Leclerc was never involved in the fight at the front.

He also never tested his race pace against a Red Bull because Sergio Perez, who started 13th, had a reliability failure early on.

As a result, he does not know if Red Bull’s pace was much better than Ferrari’s in Montreal, but there cannot have been much in it.

“I have no idea because I haven’t seen Red Bull at all during the race, they were just too far in front but overall it felt like the feeling was good and whenever the feeling is good, that is a good sign whether it was enough or not to beat Red Bull, I don’t know,” added Leclerc.

“I think it’s been close during the whole season and it will have been close today.”

Leclerc’s P5 saw Ferrari walk away from the Canadian Grand Prix with 28 points as Sainz got the fastest lap, so they closed the gap to Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship to 76 points.