Leclerc easily took the lead in the first half of the race until the Monegasque racer reported a loss of power on his Ferrari on the 26th of 66 laps.
The problem turned out to be final, as Leclerc came out early on the pitlane.
Ferrari soon confirmed that the reason for his early departure was an undiagnosed power bloc problem. Leclerc said he did not receive an early warning, and the engine suddenly failed.
“No, I don’t know anything more than what happened mostly. I didn’t have any signs before and it just broke and I completely lost energy, so it’s a shame,” Leclerc said. Sky Sports.
On the hot and windy Barcelona-Catalonia route, which forced both teammates Carlos Science and a titled opponent Max Ferstappen on early mistakes Leclerc showed a flawless game that seemed ready to regain his lead in the championship.
After Ferstappen and Red Bull rallied in Miami, a wide range of Ferrari upgrades allowed Leclerc to take a pole that seemed to convert to a crushing victory.
Instead, his retirement opened the door for Ferstappen to take control of the race, which will also give the Dutchman leadership in the championship for the first time in 2022.
Leclerc said he wasn’t too worried about the prospect of losing the lead in points, but admitted he couldn’t afford much more DNF like Spain.
“We will be considering this issue and we cannot afford to have it happen many times during the season so we need to find a problem,” he added.
“Leadership in the championship will come to naught, and maybe we will lose it, but this is normal. I don’t look at it.
“I think the most important thing is your own performance, and in terms of performance we are doing very well, so I can’t wait to go home next week and hopefully we will have a great result [in Monaco]».
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Max Ferstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, George Russell, Mercedes W13, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, the rest of the field to start
Photo: Andy Hon / Drawings of motorsport
The silver for Leclerc is that its upgrade in Barcelona seemed to have worked well and the team has gone some way in dealing with relatively poor tire management over the last few races.
He added: “I believe that in these moments I can do nothing but look at the positive moments, and there are many of them this weekend.
“There are qualifying pace, race pace and, most importantly, tire management. This has been a weakness in the last few races.
“I think this weekend we definitely found something in the matter, so it gives me confidence for the rest of the season.”