Charles Leclerc hit by grid penalty at Canadian Grand Prix after Ferrari engine struggles

A Ferrari spokesperson said the team were working on ‘countermeasures’ to strengthen the package.

<p>It has been a frustrating few weeks for Charles Leclerc and Ferrari </p>

It has been a frustrating few weeks for Charles Leclerc and Ferrari

Charles Leclerc has suffered another major setback in his bid to become Formula One world champion after being handed a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Ferrari have struggled with reliability over recent weeks, losing likely victories and podium finishes as both Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz have failed to finish races, problems which were underscored by a double retirement in Azerbaijan last weekend.

Leclerc led the championship after three races with a 46-point advantage over reigning champion Max Verstappen, but an 80-point swing has seen Verstappen take control of the standings. Leclerc is set to lose more ground in Montreal after Ferrari installed his car with a third electronics control unit of the season, triggering the automatic penalty.

A Ferrari spokesperson said the team were working on “countermeasures” to strengthen the package.

Leclerc told reporters earlier that Canada was not a bad place to take a penalty, given that overtaking is comparatively easy.

Teammate Carlos Sainz also retired from the race in Baku, but with a hydraulics problem that he said was a “bit weird” and “that hadn’t been experienced” for some years.

“It’s a failure that the team believes is pretty easy to solve and move on from,” said the Spaniard. “It happened to me, which is unfortunate, but I am not worried. The team seem pretty calm and confident that it should not happen again.”

Verstappen dominated the opening day of practice on Friday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Verstappen is the in-form man this year, winning four of the last five races, including around the streets of Baku last weekend.

Heading to Montreal, the talk of the paddock has surrounded the FIA’s decision to intervene and attempt to find a solution to the bouncing which has affected the new-look cars this season. Verstappen has had less trouble than others on the grid and his time of one minute 14.127 seconds saw him top the time sheets at the end of second practice.

Lewis Hamilton struggled with a bad back last weekend and said his car was “undriveable” towards the end of the second hour, which the Mercedes man finished down in 13th.

The Ferrari pair of Leclerc and Sainz were second and third fastest.

Additional reporting by agencies

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