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Leclerc challenges Ferrari after sprint win slips away

Leclerc challenges Ferrari after sprint win slips away

F1 News

Leclerc challenges Ferrari after sprint win slips away

Leclerc challenges Ferrari after sprint win slips away

F1 championship leader Charles Leclerc has challenged Ferrari to "come back stronger" after tyre degradation cost him top spot for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix grid.

The Monégasque looked in complete control of the sport's first 100km sprint of the season having leapt past championship rival Max Verstappen by virtue of a brilliant start at Imola.

Leclerc negotiated a safety car restart to pull away from the Dutchman but in the final five laps, the Ferrari began to suffer from graining on the front-left Pirelli tyre, allowing Verstappen to hunt down the lead.

The reigning champion eventually made a stunning move into Tamburello on the penultimate lap to secure the sprint win but reviewing his own 21 laps, Leclerc insisted: "It is still a front-row start.

"We struggled with the tyres at the end so we need to analyse that for tomorrow, the main race is tomorrow and we need to make sure that we are ready.

"The pace was good until then and then we started to have graining on the front-left and lost it towards the end but it is life. We will work and come back stronger tomorrow."

The passionate Tifosi has been out in force all weekend with the sprint taking place to a backdrop of a red sea of fans and smoke billowing into the sky as support for the Scuderia.

Addressing the fans, Leclerc added: "It is incredible, every time we are in Italy we have so much support and it is amazing to see so many people in the grandstand."

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