Charles Leclerc has conceded to being left baffled by the pace of Aston Martin in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix after dropping to a disappointing fourth in Baku.
Ferrari driver Leclerc had expected to be overhauled by the Red Bull cars of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes but was surprised to see former team-mate Sebastian Vettel claim second for Aston Martin.
Leclerc said: “The first part of the race wasn’t great. It wasn’t a huge disappointment, it was as expected.
"We knew the Red Bulls and Mercedes had quite a bit more pace than us on the long runs. I tried to not fight them too much, to focus on my race.
"But the two big surprises are the two Aston Martins that were flying and this we need to understand because they definitely did something right.”
Leclerc's lucky escape
Leclerc had a lucky escape in the early stages of the race when a branch appeared to drop onto the track in front of him and he had to take avoiding action by cutting a corner.
That incident ultimately led to his rapid downfall, and he explained: “I have no idea what that was. I saw the slippery track in T15 and got quite surprised with this thing there so I had to go out.
“I slowed down to not gain time and unfortunately that’s where it started to slip away from us because we got overtaken by Lewis. A bit of a shame, but this is not the cause for our P4.”