Charles Leclerc SkyPad Extra: How Baku glory slipped from his grasp
Watch new SkyPad analysis of Leclerc's disappointing Baku below with Sky F1's Anthony Davidson
By James Galloway and Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 30/04/19 12:50pm
Charles Leclerc says he will learn from the disappointment of his missed chance in the Azerbaijan GP after finishing fifth in a race he could conceivably have won.
The Ferrari driver's heavy crash in the second phase of qualifying left him eighth on the grid and, although the team attempted a contra race strategy to the front runners in an attempt to surge up the order, strong early progress ultimately gave way to a fifth-place finish.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Leclerc said: "There is nothing wrong with Ferrari, it's just that myself… I won't put myself down again, I did it enough… I did a mistake and I will learn from it to come back stronger."
So how and why did Leclerc's once-promising weekend, when he set a dominant pace in practice, go awry?
In an exclusive SkyPad Extra video at the top of the page, Anthony Davidson runs the rule over the 21-year-old's Baku weekend - from Leclerc's crash on Saturday, to his race strategy and overtaking on Sunday, and his late run at the bonus fastest-lap point.
"He was Ferrari's biggest hope this weekend and it was all thrown away in that qualifying incident," says Davidson.
"He's young, he's still learning. I know you should be the finished article when you get into Ferrari in Formula 1, but it's not as easy as that.
"It's going to come at some point for him but Ferrari and Charles, together, just need a better and more polished weekend and then I'm sure they can take that fight to Mercedes."
Leclerc and Ferrari reflect on Baku
The Ferrari youngster had been stinging in his own self criticism after crashing out of qualifying, describing himself as "stupid" and "useless".
Although more measured 24 hours on after the race, Leclerc admitted he still had regrets.
"When I'm looking at P1, P2, P3, even though they are not very representative, I am disappointed because I felt great in the car and I completely agree with Mattia (Binotto, Ferrari team boss), in the car there was definitely the potential to do pole position and I threw all our chances away by touching the wall," said Leclerc at Ferrari's Sunday night media session.
"It's my mistake, I take all the responsibility and [the race] was basically the best we could do from there."
He added: "It's a bit disappointing, but there are some positives to take away from the weekend. Qualy pace was stronger than China and race pace was closer to Mercedes. I'm pretty sure we'll come back even stronger in Barcelona."
Ferrari's failure to capitalise on opportunities has been a theme of the opening four races, with Mercedes and their two drivers almost mistake-free amid their record run of four consecutive one-twos at the start of an F1 season.
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari's team principal, accepts the head-to-head statistics do not look great but insists the difference is not as stark as it appears on paper.
"Obviously four races into the season, no win for Ferrari, four wins for Mercedes, no doubt they are very strong and, certainly they have got a slightly better car," said the Italian. "But the gap is not so big and the points and the gap are not reflecting the true potential of the cars.
"We had the potential of the pole [in Baku] and if you got a car fast enough to potentially score the pole, you've got a good car overall.
"In the race we were not as fast as them, but we did not finish 20 seconds behind. If you look at the lap time average in the races it's significant but still little and it's something on which to work and close in the near future."
The F1 season resumes with the fifth round of the campaign in Barcelona, Spain on May 10-12 - live on Sky Sports F1.
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