MONTREAL (AP) — Charles Leclerc received a 10-place grid penalty because Ferrari changed his engine ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.
An engine failure knocked Leclerc out of last week’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix while leading and Ferrari has since deemed the engine “beyond repair.” The FIA announced after Friday’s second practice that Leclerc had taken his third fresh power plant of the year and would be penalized at the start of Sunday’s race.
Yuki Tsonoda also received a 10-place grid penalty Friday when AlphaTauri gave the Japanese driver his fourth engine of the season.
Speaking ahead of Friday practice, Leclerc admitted his spate of failures this season has left him “not in the best position to be in” as he battles Red Bull teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez for the championship.
Verstappen, winner of five races this season and the current points leader, was fastest in both of Friday’s practices in Montreal. Leclerc ended the day second-fastest, just 0.081 seconds shy of Verstappen.
“The pace in general is the positive,” Leclerc said.
Leclerc has had a series of setbacks since winning two of the first three races this season to take the lead in the F1 standings. He had early retirements in Spain and Baku and has failed to convert on four consecutive starts from the pole headed into Sunday’s race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Leclerc has dropped to third in the standings, behind both Red Bull drivers.
“We cannot hide obviously, it’s hard to take, three races in a row with problems or mistakes,” Leclerc said. “But as a team, I think we are working extremely hard to try and get on top of those things as quick as possible. I think it’s clear for everybody the motivation is still extremely high. We are still working extremely hard as a team and we just want to get back to winning as quickly as possible.”
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports