Martin Brundle lays the blame on Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc was outperformed by Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.

Ex-Formula 1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle believes Charles Leclerc slowed down too much during last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, when a Safety Car was released to recover Logan Sargeant’s broken front wing.

After starting in third, Leclerc got himself into second on the run to the first corner, something which was made possible by starting on the Soft compound.

George Russell in second started on the Mediums, meaning he had less grip when he pulled away from the line.

Leclerc settled into the race behind his team-mate, who controlled the race superbly from pole position.

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A Ferrari 1-2 was looking like a real possibility based on how they were performing in the opening phase of the race; however, the race’s only Safety Car changed everything.

Due to Ferrari wanting to double stack, Leclerc slowed down to increase the gap between himself and Carlos Sainz, so that the team finish the Spaniard’s pit-stop before the Monegasque reached the garage.

However, Leclerc seemingly slowed down too much, meaning Ferrari were waiting a little for the 25-year-old.

As he backed up the pack too much, Leclerc then had to allow several cars to pass before he could be safely released, something which might not have happened had he entered the pit-lane closer to his team-mate.

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Leclerc dropped behind Russell and Lando Norris as a result, with Lewis Hamilton having also quickly gotten past when racing resumed.

It ended his podium chances, and left him to claim fourth place after Russell crashed on the final lap.

Reflecting on Leclerc’s race, Brundle is certain that Leclerc “overestimated” how much he needed to slow down to allow the team to double stack, with that having cost him a chance of finishing on the podium.

“Sargent’s trip into the wall on Lap 19 would generate the first safety car to clear debris and this was good timing for those at the front to get a cheap stop, time-wise, and change tyres,” Brundle wrote in his Sky Sports column.

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“The problem for Ferrari was that they were running closely first and second and there’s only one pit stop rig per team.

“Leclerc backed up the pack to make some space, for which you have to be careful not to get a penalty for unfair impeding, and it looked to me that he overestimated what he had to do because he was quite a long way from his garage when Sainz departed.

“Then having to wait for others to pass by before being released cost him two places and pretty much ruined his race in terms of full potential.”