Jock Clear explains Charles Leclerc’s challenging Canadian GP, as Ferrari had ‘hoped for better’

Ferrari English senior performance engineer Jock Clear admitted that the Maranello team had hoped for a better result for Charles Leclerc at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, as the Ferrari driver had to settle for fifth place in the Canadian Grand Prix, behind Max Verstappen, his Maranello teammate Carlos Sainz and the two Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Ferrari and Charles Leclerc knew they would have to start the Montreal race from the back of the grid, but only officially confirmed the grid penalties for changing several power unit parts on Saturday afternoon, ahead of the qualifying session. As a result, the Monegasque driver was aware he would have a very difficult task as he attempted to recover as many places as possible at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, while knowing that a place on the podium was highly unlikely in normal conditions.

Yet Charles Leclerc found himself stuck in traffic on several moments of the race, most notably having spent many laps struggling to get past the Alpine of Esteban Ocon, who was running on fresher tyres and was therefore able to defend against the Ferrari F1-75 of the Monegasque driver. Charles Leclerc eventually finished the Canadian Grand Prix in fifth place, with his Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz in second.

Jock Clear – who is a senior performance engineer, but is also the Driver Coach for Charles Leclerc and members of the Ferrari Driver Academy – confirmed that Ferrari had set P5 as a minimum target for the Canadian Grand Prix, bot was in fact hoping for more.

The 58-year-old English senior performance engineer was invited to take part in the F1 Nation podcast and was asked to comment on whether Ferrari felt it could have achieved more despite starting from P19 with Charles:

“Absolutely. I think fifth was probably the minimum we wanted before the race. Yeah, 19th on the grid, you think that’s a long way to go. But, with the pace of the car we have, fifth was the minimum we wanted, and actually, we hoped for better to be honest, and not unrealistically.” – he said.

Despite this, Jock Clear wanted to point out that it was not the fault of Charles Leclerc, explaining the Monegasque driver faced a challenging race due to the traffic problems: “The fact is that the race was hugely frustrating for Charles, because he just got stuck behind Ocon, and actually the Safety Car arrived at the wrong time for him. The ball didn’t spin for him today, and it was frustrating. He didn’t do anything wrong, and Ocon drove a very good race to keep him behind him. But it was just the frustration of spending 15 laps behind, looking at Ocon’s rear wing.” – he continued.

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In terms of whether they had expected the the F1-75 to encounter less difficulties with passing other cars, Jock Clear said:

“On paper, with no wind, it would have been easier. We arrived and this was as the forecast told us it was going to be. It was a tailwind out of the hairpin, which is a tailwind all the way down to that last chicane. The drivers were saying [before the race], that’s the worst thing you can have for overtaking, because of course, it reduces the effect of the DRS [Drag Reduction System], it reduces the drag on the car in front, and doesn’t really have much effect on the car behind. So Charles was saying [before the race that] it’s going to be a lot more difficult to overtake, and that’s what it proved to be.” – he concluded.

Jock Clear reflects on Charles Leclerc's driver development since joining  Ferrari

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