Leclerc admits fear of Lap 1 'remake' with Hamilton led to Copse caution

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Charles Leclerc did fear repeating Max Verstappen's crash with Lewis Hamilton in the final laps of the British Grand Prix.

The Monegasque had been the big beneficiary of the top two colliding at Copse on the opening lap as he inherited the lead, a lead he would keep for 50 laps at Silverstone.

In the closing laps, however, Leclerc had no response to Hamilton's charge with the Briton taking the lead on the exit of the same Copse corner with two laps to go.

The Ferrari driver though admitted to being much more cautious than Verstappen had been, while Lewis also took a much tighter line on the entry than he had 49 laps earlier.

“Honestly, yes, I saw a bit the remake of the first lap, that I was the first viewer behind those two,” Leclerc, who had to settle for second, told Sky Italia.

“I didn’t want to take risks because we are not fighting obviously against Lewis for the Championship. I tried to stay ahead, the only thing that tricked me a bit was that at the exit of the corner I took a snap of the back and that took me off the track.”

It was still a remarkable performance from Leclerc on a circuit where Ferrari expected to struggle based on their tyre wear issues at Paul Ricard last month.

But being so close to that third Grand Prix win made P2 much less satisfying.

"It’s difficult to enjoy 100%. Of course, it was an incredible race. I gave not 100% but 200%, I gave all of me but it was just not enough in the last two laps.

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“It was fun in the car but I lacked just a little bit of pace towards the end. We definitely did not expect it, we expected after qualifying to be quite competitive but not as competitive as now.

“We were fighting for the win, which was incredible, especially on the medium tyres we were extremely quick. Then on the hard tyres, we lacked a bit of pace compared to the Mercedes, but overall it was much stronger than what we are used to."

Leclerc is becoming a bit of a Silverstone specialist with three podiums in a row now at the British GP, with his second-place marking Ferrari's second podium of 2021.

“It’s great to have these type of races, it cheers up everyone," he continued. "There’s a lot of work and it shows we are doing something right and working in the right direction. We need to keep going like this.

“It won’t be a smooth ride to get back to the top but we will give everything.”