Charles Leclerc was pretty confident to pass Sergio Perez in the last lap in F1 Las Vegas GP as they talk how they came about fighting each other.
At the start, Ferrari’s Leclerc lost the F1 Las Vegas GP lead to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen but the Monegasque came back to retake the lead. The Ferrari driver seemingly got into a good position to fight for the win until the second safety car arrived.
Both Verstappen and Perez pitted which brought them in the game to fight against Leclerc on a slightly better tyres. The Dutchman managed to zoom past and extend his lead, while the Mexican had to work hard to pass the Monegasque which he eventually did.
But Leclerc came back on him on the final lap at Turn 14 to snatch second in a good show. The Monegasque knew that was only place he could have passed him, as Perez rued the move but was nevertheless pleased considering how his grand prix started.
He had to pit for a broken front wing and gradually made his way up the order where the safety car did help him gain a good chunk of places. “On one hand, I’m extremely happy with today’s performance,” said Leclerc. “I think we didn’t leave anything on the table and yeah, until the very last lap, the last corner of the last lap, I gave it all and managed to get that second place.
“On the other hand, obviously disappointed because I really believe that without the Safety Car, the win was ours, because we had on a really good first stint on the Medium and we had five laps newer Hard than Max. I had a good four, five laps in order to bring them into temperature and we had done a really good job on that.
“So, I was really confident that the win was ours. Then there was unfortunately the Safety Car. Max and Checo stopped and I stayed on my five laps Used Hard, which is not too much, five laps. But the problem is that then when you cool them down during the Safety Car, to restart a used tyre is incredibly difficult with those temperatures.
“And there we lost the race. But on the other hand, as Max said, I think the last part of the race was extremely fun. And that gave me a lot of adrenaline inside the car, and I really enjoyed it. Pitting under safety car, I mean, it’s always easy to say I had only done five laps. On the other hand, I didn’t know what Max and Checo will do behind me.
“And if they wouldn’t have stopped, then being behind two Red Bulls will have been difficult to pass them. So yeah. Now, I will have stopped but now I know what they have done, so it’s too easy to say now. I think we did the best job we could have re-starting the Hard, but I really believe that we lost quite a bit of performance with this cool down and then go again, and especially because Checo was pushing quite a bit with new tyres, which were up to temperatures after the Safety Car.
“I had to put the temperatures back into the tyre after that. And I slid quite a bit on those tyres, and that’s not great. So yeah, we lost quite a bit and I think there was more performance on this tyre if there was no Safety Car,” summed up Leclerc, who then went on to explain how he readied for the final lap pass.
“Once I went for it I was pretty confident it would work out,” said Leclerc. “It was basically the only opportunity I had. It’s the only place where you can really go for an overtake. And I also had in mind that Checo had done a small mistake four or five laps before so I knew he was being cautious a little bit on braking.
“And in the second to last lap, I started to recharge the batteries in order to get ready for that last lap and it worked out. So it was obviously very, very tight but I was really happy and I really enjoyed the fight,” summed up Leclerc, as Perez as noted above was pleased to end up third and secure second in the drivers’ title after the start to his race.
“It’s a bit of mixed feelings, you know, because if you just look at the full picture, I think it’s quite tough,” said Perez. “Yeah, looking fully back on my race, you know, with so much damage in Lap One, basically, front wing damage. Everyone stopped on the outside, there was no grip on that initial lap.
“And unfortunately, the first target for me was just not to get any damage, because I knew how low grip conditions was going to be. And I ended-up having that damage, unfortunately. And for me, at that point on, it was all about recovering, trying to get Lewis first because he was the target to seal second in the Championship. But the pace on that Hard was tremendous and that really brought me back on the race.
“I was just overtaking cars every lap and we were really, really strong. And it really brought us back into the race. And once the Safety Car came out, that really put us in contention for the victory. And yeah, in the initial laps, went through Charles, relatively easy but then I just couldn’t pull away from him.
“And unfortunately, I think we were just cutting a little bit too much rear wing on my car, and my top speed was quite a bit down. My clipping as well. So once I was on the lead, I just couldn’t pull away from Charles. And then we had Max also in the picture. So overall, I think it was a nice comeback. It was really not nice to lose a place to Charles there in the end. He got me back from Turkey 2020. Yeah, it’s what it is.”
Here’s pass from Charles Leclerc to Sergio Perez: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2023-las-vegas-grand-prix-all-the-angles-of-leclercs-sensational-last-lap-pass-on-perez.1782991889922728042.html
Here’s Max Verstappen, George Russell on their clash
Here’s Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc on their run-in
Here’s how F1 Las Vegas GP panned out
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