Charles Leclerc believes the performance that Lewis Hamilton produced in Brazil went past the limits of the car by winning after being disqualified from qualifying.
Hamilton was quickest in Friday qualifying after taking a new power unit component, but was excluded for a DRS-related infringement and had to start the Sprint from last on the grid. He climbed through to fifth place on Saturday before his five-place power unit penalty saw him start 10th on Sunday, fighting through to overtake Max Verstappen late on to win.
“Of course Mercedes and Red Bull have a strong car at the moment but what Lewis has shown this weekend, I think is going over what a car can give,” Leclerc said. “He has done a really impressive performance. So yeah, fair play to him. To win after everything that happened to him this weekend is a great achievement. I think that should be seen outside of the of the car performance. I think he just did a great job.”
And Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz agrees, saying fans don’t always appreciate when a driver produces a great drive if they have the quickest car.
“Yeah, I keep seeing these debates on social media and everywhere,” Sainz said. “And I keep wondering why can it not be the two things? I think it was the combination of a great driver, a great talented guy that this weekend I think was inspired in combination with a car that this weekend was very dominant, like the Mercedes, we saw it since FP1.
“I just feel like why can it not be both driver and car? And I would give them like a perfect 10 to both of them. You know, one thing doesn’t come without the other and the other doesn’t come without the one. So what they did (at Interlagos) was just an incredible performance, so I congratulate both Lewis and Mercedes.”
Max vs Lewis ⚔️
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Sainz also believes the incident between Verstappen and Hamilton at Turn 4 highlights where track design needs addressing, as he feels the run-off area at Interlagos could be gravel.
“I personally think that this issue would be solved with a gravel trap on the exit of Turn 4,” Sainz said. “I think you also saw at the start a few cars, including ourselves, going wide in Turn 4, which if there would have been a gravel trap we wouldn’t have gone there. Ad instead of actually it being an issue for the stewards, if you put a gravel trap there, it wouldn’t be an issue for the stewards, for Michael (Masi), for Lewis, for Max or for us.
“We keep asking for gravel traps. We hope that in the future, especially at a track like Sao Paulo, where MotoGP is not running, we would like to see gravel traps back because we would never brake so late into Turn 4.”