Charles Leclerc speaks out on 10-place grid penalty after Ferrari release statement

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Charles Leclerc has remained optimistic about his chances at the Canadian Grand Prix despite incurring a grid penalty for a third Control Electronic being fitted to his Ferrari. F1 teams are only permitted two Control Electronic changes throughout the season, but the blowout last weekend made it impossible for Ferrari to continue without another being fitted.

Ferrari said in a statement: “A new Control Electronic has been fitted to Charles’ car prior to FP2. It is the third of these elements used so far this season – only two are permitted – therefore Charles takes a grid penalty.”

That leaves Leclerc with plenty of work to do on Sunday while he’ll also need to show his pace in qualifying to give himself the best chance of coming through the field. Leclerc’s issues will give both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez some breathing room for the race.

But the 24-year-old isn’t too disheartened about his punishment for taking on a new Control Electronic. “Well, obviously I’m starting a little bit more in the back,” Leclerc said.

“But I think it was the best decision to make so let’s see how it goes. Overtaking was a little bit more difficult than I expected today, but the pace is there, so hopefully we can come back to where we want to be.”

And Leclerc feels as though Ferrari have the right package this weekend to challenge Red Bull in Sunday’s race.

“It is pretty close,” he said. “The race pace we need to work on – I mean it’s a bit difficult to have a clear picture because I was on a different compound all the time but overall, it didn’t look too bad so that’s good.”

Verstappen and Leclerc were neck-and-neck in FP2 on Friday night with just 0.081s between them. But Sergio Perez was off the pace on his final run and a mistake in the middle sector saw him post only the 11th-quickest time.

Leclerc’s retirement from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last weekend now leaves him 34 points behind Verstappen at the top of the Drivers’ Championship. And he will need to keep a close eye on George Russell’s development at Mercedes with the young Brit just 17 points behind in the standings.

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