Lewis Hamilton boost ahead of Saudi Arabian GP with rival set to receive TEN-PLACE grid penalty after Bahrain incident | The Sun

CHARLES LECLERC has been slapped with a ten-place grid penalty for this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari star was forced to retire in Bahrain due to issues with his car's electronic control unit [ECU].

Leclerc, 25, had been in third place before being forced to quit.

Ferrari experienced issues with Leclerc's ECU on the morning of the race, before similar problems with its replacement forced their star man out of the opening GP of the season.

Competition rules dictate that teams can only go through two ECUs in the space of an entire campaign.

With Ferrari already requiring a third, Leclerc will have to start Sunday's Saudi GP with a ten-place penalty.


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Speaking about the issue, Prancing Horse team principal Frederic Vasseur said: "It is something we have never experienced in the past and I hope now it is under control.

"But unfortunately we will have to take the penalty in Jeddah because we only have a pool of two ECUs for the season."

Despite being on track for a place on the podium, Leclerc had been way off the pace set by Red Bulls Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

After the Monegasque's retirement, veteran Fernando Alonso pounced to grab the third spot on the podium, with Leclerc's team-mate Carlos Sainz coming fourth.

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Lewis Hamilton came fifth, with his Mercedes team-mate George Russell in seventh and Aston Martin's Lance Stroll between them in sixth.

On his team's prospects this weekend, Vasseur added: "I can't be satisfied with the situation and I want to do a step forward.

"The characteristics of Jeddah are completely different compared to Bahrain and already it will swing a little more to what we have today and we will also bring some updates to Jeddah and I hope we will do a step forward."

Mercedes, meanwhile, reportedly held an emergency meeting following their underwhelming start to the season.

Hamilton, who has been linked with a sensational move to Ferrari, aired his frustrations with his current team after the Bahrain GP.

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He said: "Last year, there were things I told them, I said the issues that are with the car.

"I’ve driven so many cars in my life, so I know what a car needs, I know what a car doesn’t need. And I think it’s really about accountability.

"It’s about owning up and saying, 'Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it used to be and we’ve got to work'.

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"We've got to look into the balance through the corners, look at all the weak points and just huddle up as a team, that's what we do.

"We're still multi world champions you know, it's just they haven't got it right this time, they didn't get it right last year, but that doesn't mean we can't get it right moving forwards."

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