Leclerc rues “worst start to a season ever” after second retirement in three races · RaceFans

Charles Leclerc rued his luckless start to the 2023 season after retiring from the Australian Grand Prix on the first lap of the race.

Last year’s winner at the Albert Park circuit tangled with Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin at turn three. Leclerc was on the outside of his rival when the pair made contact, which sent the SF-75 into the run-off area. He was unable to extract his Ferrari at the gravel trap and retired on the spot.

Leclerc said the collision occurred as a result of Fernando Alonso slowing down in front of the other Aston Martin.

“At turn one I took it easy and turn three I wasn’t really planning an overtake at first on Lance,” Leclerc explained. “Then I saw that he had to brake very early because of Fernando in front that was braking early.

“So I released the brakes and put myself alongside Lance and then Fernando had to brake even more. So Lance found himself between me and Fernando and he couldn’t turn in and we had contact.”

The stewards blamed no one for the collision and Leclerc agreed it was a racing incident.

“I’m not pointing the finger at Lance because I think he just had no choice once Fernando slowed down the car the second time,” he said. “For me it was just impossible to see whether Lance was staying behind Fernando. He was just in between, obviously I didn’t think that he was there.

“So it’s just extremely frustrating. It’s the worst start to the season ever.”

Leclerc has endured a tough start to the 2023 season. He retired from the season-opening race in Bahrain with a power unit failure while running third.

He was only able to finish seventh in Saudi Arabia after a grid penalty due to the power unit parts changes arising from his Bahrain retirement.

Leclerc was unhappy with the result of qualifying yesterday after Ferrari was unable to execute its plan for his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr to give him a tow.

Pictures: Leclerc retires from the Australian Grand Prix

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2023 Australian Grand Prix

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