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How Leclerc Baku podium chances were uprooted by a tree branch

How Leclerc Baku podium chances were uprooted by a tree branch

F1 News

How Leclerc Baku podium chances were uprooted by a tree branch

How Leclerc Baku podium chances were uprooted by a tree branch
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has explained the bizarre reason he lost the lead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to Lewis Hamilton.

After taking his second successive pole position, Leclerc led for less than two laps as Hamilton picked up a slipstream down the longest flat-out section on the F1 calendar to claim the lead.

How Hamilton had closed up to the back of the Monégasque and passed without the aid of DRS was not totally clear until Leclerc offered an explanation.

"Well, it was starting to be quite okay in the first few laps," said Leclerc. "Then there was something I think hasn't been seen on TV.

"There was a part of a tree in the middle of turn 15 and there I actually lost quite a bit of time because I cut the track.

"I was quite worried to gain time [by cutting the corner] on Lewis behind who hadn't cut the track so I slowed down and he overtook me.

"From then on it was quite difficult because I was behind Lewis in dirty air and I struggled a little bit."

Leclerc not surprised by Ferrari pace

After a chaotic race resulted in neither Hamilton nor Max Verstappen finishing in the points, Leclerc claimed fourth behind the winner in Red Bull's Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel for Aston Martin and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly.

The pace difference to Mercedes and Red Bull, however, was not a surprise to Leclerc.

"As soon as I lost DRS, Max overtook me and you are in a vicious circle which is very difficult because I had cars all around me that had more pace than I did," added Leclerc.

"So I struggled a little bit then I recovered the pace but we decided to stop early to go onto the hard tyres.

"Let's say that there was nothing that was unexpected in these first few laps because we expected Mercedes and Red Bull to be a bit stronger anyway."

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