Leclerc loses possible ‘Class B’ win
Charles Leclerc was set for his first victory in Formula 1’s unofficial ‘Class B’ for teams outside the big three when he was forced to retire thanks to a loose rear wheel after a pitstop. Leclerc ran seventh in the early stages, slipping to eighth behind the recovering Lewis Hamilton. He sat behind faststarting Nico Hulkenberg until making his pitstop on lap 18 in an attempt to undercut his way past the Renault for what was then seventh place and would eventually become sixth after Max Verstappen’s retirement. But a loose rear wheel meant he was ordered to retire, leaving the way clear for Hulkenberg to make his stop without losing a position. This also cost Leclerc a potential sixth points finish in seven races after a strong performance that included making Q3 for the second time in his F1 career. “It was a very good race until that pitstop,”said Leclerc.“we have been extremely competitive from the beginning of the year [on pitstops]. When you are pushing everything to the limit, sometimes mistakes happen.” Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson crashed out of 14th place in the race after failing to close the DRS at Abbey. “It seems I have the button behind my steering wheel and, as it’s quite bumpy on entry, I slipped and didn’t hit it,” said Ericsson.