F1: Charles Leclerc insists Ferrari can beat Red Bull, Max Verstappen | Inquirer Sports
Close  

F1: Charles Leclerc insists Ferrari can beat Red Bull, Max Verstappen

/ 04:28 PM June 21, 2022
 Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 19, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. Clive Mason/Getty Images/AFP 

Charles Leclerc left the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in defiant mood after Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix and insisted that he can overhaul Max Verstappen to win this year’s world championship.

The 24-year-old Monegasque Ferrari driver is 49 points adrift of Red Bull’s world champion, who on Sunday reeled off his sixth win of the season, but still believes it is not an insurmountable deficit.

ADVERTISEMENT

Leclerc finished fifth after a storming, if frustrating, race from the back of the grid having been handed a grid penalty for taking a new power unit.

“Reliability is a concern for everyone this season,” said Leclerc. “But if we can fix that, we have the performance to come back and so, from Silverstone, we will be trying to gain points back.

“Forty-nine points? Two victories and it is done!”

Verstappen admitted after Sunday’s tense finish that he did not have the pace to beat Carlos Sainz, in the second Ferrari, without defending hard for the last 15 laps as the Spaniard did all he could to find a way to pass him and claim his maiden win.

That proved, according to the 24-year-old Dutchman, that this year’s championship can swing between Red Bull and Ferrari with more twists to come.

“There is still a very long way to go in the championship and the gap is, of course, quite big, but we have seen and we know it can switch around quite quickly,” said Verstappen, who struggled in the opening three races of the year before taking the initiative.

ADVERTISEMENT

Max Verstappen Canadian Grand Prix Formula One

Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates with their trophy after the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 19, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. Clive Mason/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by CLIVE MASON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

In the back of his mind, Verstappen may have recalled that he had a 32-point lead over seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes at a similar point in the title race last year when their battle went down to the final lap of the season.

“I mean,” he added. “Race three (this year) I was 46 behind, so now we just need to stay calm, need to focus and we need to improve because we’re not the quickest.

“Last weekend, it looked good in the race. Now not so good. But we managed to win and that is a quality too and we just have to work together as a team to try and find little improvements.”

To add to the complexity of the championship scrap, the upcoming British Grand Prix at Silverstone (July 3) may see a resurgent challenge from Mercedes with Hamilton leading their charge at his and team-mate George Russell’s home race.

Hamilton said he was ‘ecstatic’ to be back on the podium in third place on Sunday when he produced a convincing drive without post-race grumbles about bouncing or ‘porpoising’, despite claiming his car was undriveable on Friday.

He acknowledged, however, that his car remains deeply capricious and unpredictable, suggesting that it remains likely Silverstone will witness another battle between Ferrari and Red Bull, with the Italian team keen to give vent to their frustrations.

Sainz admitted that he may have erred in not taking a softer tire to attack Verstappen at his pit-stop before the closing laps while Leclerc said he was twice stuck behind ‘DRS trains’ of slower cars.

In each case, they knew they had the speed to overtake but did not have the space or opportunity – a less likely frustration for them at the sweeping high-speed British track.

“Our pace was really good,” said Leclerc. “I got stuck in the traffic twice… It’s like this sometimes, but I hope it will be different at the next race – reliability permitting!”

Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Formula One
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.