Charles Leclerc was confident of a podium finish at the Suzuka race after overtaking the slow-moving Red Bull Racing team. The Monaco man thought he had just passed Max Verstappen, but it was actually Sergio Perez in the car.
The Ferrari driver started and finished the race for the Japanese Grand Prix in fourth place, and the mistake was caused by Perez, who retired in the first part of the race and then returned to the race a few laps later to serve a five-second penalty at the stop. Leclerc thus thought that Perez was no longer in the race and was convinced that Verstappen was in trouble. "I thought Verstappen had resigned," he said. "I thought I was going to get the podium, so I was surprised when I saw the board on the last lap saying I was fourth."
The Monaco native said the race went according to plan. "We expected Max to be fast, we thought Perez would also be fast, for whom we don't know what happened, and both McLarens. The places in front of us weren't surprising, but I achieved the most that was possible today."
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