Charles Leclerc thoroughly enjoyed his battle with Max Verstappen at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but was left disappointed after being beaten to victory.
Leclerc and Verstappen engaged in an enthralling battle for the win in the dying laps of the race in Jeddah, as they both used intellectual brilliance to hang back going into the final corner of the lap to utilise DRS and ensure the overtake into the first corner before embarking on the twisty first sector.
The Monegasque took great pleasure out of the tactical fight with the reigning world champion, and congratulated him on the late pass that won him the race.
“Yeah it was [smart] but it wasn’t enough today,” Leclerc said.
“Oh my god, I really enjoyed that race, I mean again it’s hard racing but fair and every race should be like this, so it was fun.
“I am of course disappointed, I wanted to win today. We had two very different configurations with Max and Checo and both the Ferraris.
“We were quite quick in the corners but quite slow on the straight because we put more downforce so it was extremely difficult for me to cover Max in the straights but it’s how it is.
“He did a great job and it was a fun race.”
The pair encountered each other on numerous occasions during their junior careers, but they have developed a profound respect for one another, and the engaging on-track fight in Saudi Arabia has enhanced that.
“[The respect has] always been there, especially when you a race like this,” he added.
“I mean, we are on a street track, we’ve been pushing like I’ve rarely pushed before to the absolute limit and we took risks at the end so of course there is respect and, but [I’m] a bit disappointed.”
Leclerc did manage the fastest lap of the race as Ferrari scored 34 points thanks to his points haul and Carlos Sainz’s third-placed finish.