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Charles Leclerc: 'Retirement from Azerbaijan Grand Prix felt significant'

Leclerc: 'Retirement from Azerbaijan GP felt significant'
© Reuters
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc hints that his retirement from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix felt "significant" in the context of the title race.

Charles Leclerc has acknowledged his disappointment after retiring before the halfway stage of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Having earned a sixth pole in eight races, the Ferrari driver had hoped to make headway into Max Verstappen's lead in the title race.

However, the Dutchman's Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez overtook Leclerc on the first corner, and it soon became apparent that Ferrari were off the pace in comparison to their rivals.

Carlos Sainz Jnr was an early retirement due to a hydraulic failure, and Leclerc follow suit on lap 21 when his engine failed for the second time in three races.

He now trails leader Verstappen by 34 points, the early frontrunner admitting that his latest stoppage felt "significant" in the context of the title race.

Leclerc is quoted by BBC Sport as saying: ""I am more than frustrated. The first stint we weren't particularly strong at the beginning but then I was catching back Checo.

"I think pitting was the right choice. We were leading and then I was managing the tyres well. We just had to manage the tyres to the end and we were in the best position to do that. Another DNF. It hurts.

"It is more than significant. I don't really have the words. It is just a huge disappointment and I hope we can jump back from it and be on top of those things."

Leclerc is now also 13 points behind Perez, while he is also looking over his shoulder towards Mercedes driver George Russell.

After earning third spot on Sunday, the British driver is now 17 points behind Leclerc, while Lewis Hamilton is 37 points adrift of his Mercedes teammate.

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