Charles Leclerc's retirement from the lead at the Spanish Grand Prix turned out to be a double blow for the Monegasque driver. The Ferrari driver not only lost his place atop the Drivers' championship to Max Verstappen, but his power unit failure could cost him dearly later in the season.

In the early stages of the race last Sunday, Leclerc looked comfortably on course for his third win of the 2022 Formula 1 season. He led off the line from pole and was slowly pulling away from second-placed Verstappen as the race progressed.

The now former Drivers' championship leader was aided by Verstappen's trip into the gravel trap - allowing him to open up a comfortable gap ahead of the chasing pack. The Ferrari ace's gap to George Russell's Mercedes extended to well over 12 seconds, giving him flexibility on tyre strategy for the rest of the race.

Alas, on Lap 27, disaster struck out of nowhere as Leclerc lost power and was forced to coast into the pits and into retirement. It came as a surprise to Ferrari, as there were no indications of a potential failure. Team principal Mattia Binotto claimed that the first the team heard of the problem was from Leclerc via his radio communication.

Charles Leclerc
Long-term deal: Ferrari's Charles Leclerc William WEST/AFP

Verstappen went on to record his fourth win of the season to overtake Leclerc in the standings. The Red Bull Racing driver over came certain problems of his own, and with some cooperation from teammate Segio Perez took his third straight win.

Ferrari were initially unclear about the cause of the issue and were unable to offer an explanation in the immediate aftermath of the race. The power unit was flown to the factory in Maranello, and it has now been revealed that it was a failure of the turbo and MGU-H.

Ferrari confirmed that the concerned parts are damaged beyond repair and will not be kept in the pool for later use. That will be a major blow for Leclerc as each driver is permitted to use just three power units and its components during the course of the 22-race season.

"Having examined the PU from Leclerc's car, we found the turbo and MGU-H are damaged and cannot be repaired," Ferrari said, via a statement on Monday, as quoted on

"However, having fully analysed the failure and its cause, we are satisfied it did not occur through a design fault or reliability issue with these two components or any other elements of the PU."

Top two: Carlos Sainz, left, and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc congratulate each other after qualifying in Miami Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Ferrari will now have to decide whether to introduce new parts for the next race in Monaco or use the old power unit which was used for the first four races of the season. Taking a new turbo and MGU-H this early in the season could be damaging for the Ferrari driver's title aspirations going forward.

In the event of another failure, Leclerc will be forced to take new components which in turn will incur grid penalties depending on the component he avails. The grid drops will put him on the back foot, and make it that much more difficult to fight his in-form title rival Verstappen and Red Bull Racing.

Max Verstappen
Red Bull's Max Verstappen is looking to build on his win in Saudi Arabia ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP