Leclerc was looking to win in Barcelona as he held a comfortable lead in the opening phase of the race after title contender Max Ferstappen lost time by riding on gravel and lowering the order.
But on the 27th lap, when he held the lead for more than 11 seconds, Leclerc suddenly slowed down when his car lost power while accelerating halfway around the lap.
Manegask immediately headed to the pits and dropped out of the race, giving Ferstappen the opportunity to continue and win, which moved him to first place in the standings of Formula 1 drivers.
Ferrari has yet to respond to what went wrong with Leclerc’s power unit to cause a shutdown, and wants to wait until the investigation at its Maranel headquarters is completed before offering a proper explanation.
However, team leader Matthias Binot confirmed that the problem was not something the team managed as it took the team by surprise.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Max Ferstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18, George Russell, Mercedes W13, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, the rest of the field away at start
Photo: Sam Blockham / Drawings of motorsport
“It was a sudden problem,” he said. “I think we learned about it first from Charles, first on the radio and then from the engineers who were looking at the data. So it was really sudden.
“We have no explanations yet. So the power unit will [sent] back to Maranello, traveling at night, and we’ll disassemble it tomorrow morning. “
After two events where Ferrari was caught with worse tire wear than Red Bull, Leclerc felt that this time things were completely different and the team kept everything under control.
Asked if he feels without failure, he would go for a straight win, he said: “Honestly, with those circles I made, everything went very, very well.
“I think it would be hard for them to win back because obviously there was already a pretty big gap and we had a very good degradation and on a soft tire.
“We could do a few more laps compared to them. So, overall, I think we kept the race under control.”