There was no sugar coating just how badly the Canadian Grand Prix turned out for Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both failing to finish Sunday’s race at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

The team was already reeling from is’s deeply disappointing performance in qualifying the day before, in which neither driver made it through to the final top ten shoot-out round.

It meant that Leclerc started the Grand Prix from P11 and initially made modest progress to move up into the top ten. But alarm bells started ringing on lap 20 when he was passed on quick succession by Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda.

Leclerc was liaising with the Ferrari pit wall about problems with his power unit which were clearly costing him half a second on the straights.

“With Charles we had an issue on the engine which meant we lost around 80 horsepower for about 15 laps,” reported Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur.

When a safety car was scrambled for Logan Sargeant’s accident the team used the ensuing round of pit stops to reset the power unit’s electronic systems meaning he lost over a minute sitting in the pix box.

“We were hoping for a red flag to be able to do a reset and restart,” Vasseur said. “There was no red flag, so we had to pit which cost us a lap and effectively that was the end of Charles’ race.”

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24 makes a pit stop. 09.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Leclerc made a desperate bid to put himself back in contention by opting to take a set of slick hard tyres but that immediately backfired when the rain picked up intensity at the restart.

Leclerc had to tip-toe his way back to the pits for a replacement set of intermediates and was soon lapped by race leader Max Verstappen. He opted to retire from last place on lap 41 to save further wear on the power unit.

“Honestly, there’s not much more to say apart from the engine issue cost us everything,” Leclerc explained afterwards. “The bottom line today is that the engine issue is what compromised our race.

“Then at one point we decided we tried to go on the slicks,” he said. “We were losing substantial lap time compared to the other cars, so we tried to go on slicks, knowing that it was our only chance to try to finish in the points.

“We knew there would be a greater chance it wouldn’t work, but we had to try something. With the engine issues we had, we would have been out of the points anyway. That was it really, there was nothing to lose. I’ve got no regrets about that.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24.
09.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day.
- www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

“After that it was just extremely tricky to do all the engine changes that the team was asking me at the same time,” he continued. “We were still losing a second and a half [on the] first straight.

“We’ve got to look into the engine issue because, yeah, that’s going to be tricky for the rest of the season,” he admitted while insisted that it was important not to overreact to this week’s disappointment.

“So as much as we didn’t overreact after Monaco [with the win], we shouldn’t overreact after this one,” he said, referring back to the jubilation that followed his maiden home GP win two weeks ago. “But this one hurts.

“It’s big points for the team with the two cars DNF’d,” he acknowledged. “We are going to lose out against our competitors,” he said, adding that it was important to find out the reason they underperformed this weekend.

“We shouldn’t overreact with the pace of the car. I mean, you’ve got good weekends, you’ve got bad weekends,” he said.

“Yesterday we missed Q3 by three hundredths,” he pointed out. “We were definitely not feeling good with the car. We’ve got to work on that and try to understand what went wrong.

“Today I wouldn’t say the pace was bad,” he stressed. “If you look at the first stint with a second and a half slower engine, I think we weren’t that bad in corners. We were strong.”

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-24.
09.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day.
- www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

The reason for his team mate’s retirement was more straightforward. He had damaged his front wing earlier in the race after running into the back of a Sauber which compromised his aerodynamic handling.

Sainz subsequently caught a wet kerb at turn 6 on lap 53 which sent him sliding across the track into Alex Albons whose Williams was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“The entire race was on the edge, and when I tried to push in the DRS train to overtake I made a mistake on the kerb, and for that I want to say sorry to the team and to Alex.

“A race to forget for the team,’ Sainz concluded. “We knew today was going to be difficult because we have been struggling all weekend with grip and car handling.

We have work to do ahead of Spain to understand what has happened this weekend and make sure we don’t find ourselves in this situation again,” he concluded. “We move on.”

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