Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc failed to start the Sao Paulo Formula One Grand Prix after crashing on the formation lap at Interlagos on Sunday, November 5.

The Monegasque had qualified on the front row alongside Red Bull’s triple world champion and pole sitter Max Verstappen, winner of 16 of the 19 races this season, before his inevitable subsequent victory in Brazil.

“I lost the hydraulics. Why am I so unlucky?” lamented Leclerc over the team radio after careering backwards into the barriers, adding a few swear words in a moment of pure frustration.

Leclerc said he first became aware of a problem when the steering wheel stopped responding and the car went straight ahead. “I had no hydraulic any more. I don’t think it’s a hydraulic problem, I know what it is but I cannot go too much into detail,” he told Sky Sports television after his disappointing early retirement.

The race was then red-flagged following a collision at the start between Haas’s Kevin Magnussen and Williams’s Alex Albon that left debris scattered over the track, and both cars in the barriers.

Verstappen was the fastest off the line again as the lights went out to signal the race restart following the crash induced red flag, resisting a challenge by Lando Norris to hold on to first place more or less until the chequered flag. Norris put up a valiant fight in his pursuit of the flying dutchman, but settled for second place yet again in his silverware studded career.

Formula 1 fans were treated to a drama filled final lap, as the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso battled it out on the track for third place. Alonso took third place from Perez before crossing the line side by side with the Mexican. The end result seemed too close to call, but computers confirmed a difference of just 0.053 seconds separated the cars.

The next and penultimate race of the season will see the F1 circus travel to Las Vegas on Sunday, November 19.

Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 4, 2023 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during the sprint shoot-out REUTERS/Carla Carniel