Ferrari and Charles Leclerc endured another painful mistake in their bid to compete for the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship.
A poor qualifying round for Max Verstappen and Red Bull offered the chance for Leclerc and the Italian outfit to make ground in the championship standings, with the Monegasque starting in third place on the grid, seven spots ahead of his rival at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
A strong start to the contest put Leclerc in a good position to secure a vital victory in his bid to close on Verstappen ahead of the summer Formula One break.
A picture of Charles Leclerc after the Hungarian Grand Prix. Visibly frustrated and disappointed.
— F1 Insider (@F1Insider_) July 31, 2022
However, team manager Mattia Binotto made the controversial call to change Leclerc onto hard tyres for the middle stretch of the race, a move that backfired tremendously.
Instead of providing stability for the 24-year-old, Leclerc lost significant pace from his vehicle to allow Verstappen to take control of the race. By the time he was called in 15 laps later to replace his tyres back to the soft compound, the damage was done and Leclerc placed in sixth place, mustering only eight points compared to Verstappen’s 25.
The Red Bull driver now has a commanding lead heading into the stretch run of the season, with Leclerc trailing his rival by 80 points after the 13th race of the season. Results such as the Hungarian Grand Prix and the Canadian Grand Prix where Leclerc finished sixth and fifth have left him with a lot of work to do to close the gap on Verstappen at the top of the standings.
Canadian F1 fans know already about the frustration of Leclerc after he finished in fifth place in the Canadian Grand Prix earlier in the campaign, and will be fully aware of the challenge he and Ferrari have left themselves in the race for the Drivers’ Championship.
However, in that race Leclerc did fire himself up from 19th place on the grid to fifth, hinting that he could make a similar resurgence in the battle for the Drivers’ Championship. Given the balance of the situation you can find value and experience F1 betting in Canada for future races where the Monegasque requires victories rather than podiums in his quest to win the crown.
This will be notable when F1 returns to action in August and further down the line when the sport comes back to North America for the United States Grand Prix. Leclerc’s odds will have decent value for the race and the Drivers’ Championship at that point as he is unlikely to make sufficient ground to close the gap on his rival. With the title race, Verstappen will be the favourite.
LECLERC CRASHES OUT OF THE FRENCH GP! 😤 pic.twitter.com/7elKawZANe
— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) July 24, 2022
Leclerc will be extremely frustrated with the current gap to Verstappen. Although he is not blameless after being forced to retire at the French Grand Prix following a mistake, Ferrari should take the brunt of the responsibility, and their latest gaffe regarding strategy is just another lowlight for a team that once prided itself as being the forefront outfit in the sport.
In the days of Michael Schumacher, Ferrari were a well-oiled machine and were the envy of every team on the circuit. However, it has been 15 years since their last triumph, and they appear no closer to finding a solution to their woes.
Whereas Red Bull made every correct call in Hungary, Ferrari managed to blunder what should have been a routine win, boasting greater pace than Mercedes and holding a huge advantage over Verstappen on the starting grid. The Italian outfit cannot seem to get out of their own way.
They wasted many good years of Sebastian Vettel’s career, failing to produce a vehicle that could compete with Mercedes.
Now, they’re making fundamental mistakes that could halt the progress of another great driver in the form of Leclerc. The Monegasque has shown signs of brilliance behind the wheel, especially in his triumph in Bahrain and Austria. But, unless he gets support from the team soon, then his talent will be wasted.