Charles Leclerc says Ferrari had agreed to switch cars during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix if it would help his chase of second place in the drivers’ championship, but failed to do so.
Carlos Sainz was running a strong third ahead of Leclerc in Brazil when the Monegasque asked to be allowed past in order to maximize his points gain against Sergio Perez. However, Ferrari replied that it felt the move would be too risky and let the drivers retain position, and Leclerc later explained it was a scenario that had been discussed pre-race.
“Obviously we had a discussion with the team before the race, otherwise I don’t ask for this type of thing,” Leclerc said. “But the decision has changed for some reason. I will speak with the team to understand why it has changed.”
Leclerc’s race was compromised by an early collision with Lando Norris, but he recovered from a heavy hit with the barrier at Turn 6 to finish fourth.
“I thought I had left space… well, I’m pretty sure I left space,” he said. “I think he lost the rear and touched me, so it’s a shame. It wasn’t a small touch with the barriers.
“All in all, the weekend performance, I’m happy … Towards the end we had good pace and we finished P4 which is a great result.”
After ending the weekend level on points with Perez – who also had his own team orders controversy – Leclerc said he’s philosophical about his returns from Interlagos.
“I’ve calmed down, I’m happy,” he said. “Not super happy, but it’s OK. I had that shunt, obviously. All in all if you have that and finish P4, it’s great.
“Obviously I asked on the radio on the last few laps… I was frustrated about that in the heat of the radio because we had that discussion before the race. For some reason we changed our mind and I don’t know why. And it was frustrating. I hope that in Abu Dhabi we will be fast enough for us to get the second place in the championship, and if not, then it’s like this.”