Revealed: Why Charles Leclerc had shocking pace at 2023 Dutch GP

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc suffered woeful pace at the 2023 Dutch GP on Sunday.

Charles Leclerc’s woeful Dutch Grand Prix weekend failed to improve on Sunday, as the Monegasque was forced to retire at Zandvoort.

Starting from P9, it was always set to be a challenging race for Leclerc, who hit Oscar Piastri in the opening stages.

Heavy rain started to fall at the end of the opening lap, which resulted in most of the drivers switching to the Intermediate tyres on the second or third lap.

Ferrari have struggled in mixed conditions all weekend, with the SF-23 having looked very unstable throughout free practice, qualifying and the race.

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It was a snap which sent Leclerc into Piastri on the opening lap and damaged his front wing.

Things went from bad to worse for Leclerc during the race when he pitted for Intermediates, as Ferrari didn’t have the tyres ready.

It was yet another Ferrari calamity, whilst something was clearly wrong with Leclerc’s car.

The 25-year-old struggled to make any progress through the field having tumbled right down the order, he was even overtaken by debutant Liam Lawson.

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Not long after being overtaken by the AlphaTauri driver, the Maranello-based team called Leclerc back into the pits to retire from the race.

Ferrari told Leclerc that the issue was “getting worse”, before revealing to the media that the driver’s car had floor damage.

It completed a shocking weekend for Leclerc, who crashed in Q3.

Leclerc would’ve likely started higher than ninth had he not crashed in the opening minutes of Q3, after touching a wet part on the outside of a thin dry line.

Carlos Sainz at least managed to score Ferrari 10 points, with the Spaniard having claimed fifth place.

He did well to defend the spot from Lewis Hamilton, who was keen to find his way past.

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Sainz’s P5 and Leclerc’s retirement has seen the 28-year-old move ahead of Leclerc and into sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, demoting Leclerc to seventh.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari remain in fourth, 14 points behind Aston Martin in third.

The Silverstone-based team managed to rebuild some of their advantage over Ferrari after Fernando Alonso returned to the podium.