Charles Leclerc admitted after the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix that his Title prospects are looking very difficult for him as he now trails Max Verstappen by 98 points.
It was a combination of lack of pace, bad luck, and some of Ferrari’s classic decisions that meant Leclerc finished the race sixth, dropping to third in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship behind Sergio Perez, as he gap to Verstappen now even seems unsurmountable.
At the start of the race, Leclerc had to pit as a visor tear-off got stuck into his front brake duct to have it removed dropping him down the order, but from the on, he lacked the pace to achieve a decent result as the team set him the target of fifth place as the best possible outcome.
However towards the end of the race, Ferrari pitted Leclerc to bolt Soft tyres on his car so he can go for the fastest lap and take an extra point.
He was fifth with Fernando Alonso behind him, but as he emerged from the pit, it turned out that the gap was not enough, and the Monegasque was overtaken, something he soon rectified regaining the position from the Spaniard to finish fifth, but without the point for the fastest lap.
After the race however, Leclerc was deemed over speeding in the pitlane on that final pit stop, and was slapped with a five-second penalty, meant he ultimately finishes sixth.
Leclerc: Pitlane incident my fault
Asked about the pitlane incident, Leclerc told F1’s official website: “I mean, the pit lane is not bad luck, it’s just my fault, so it’s a mistake and that’s it.
“On the other hand, yes, we were just not quick enough this weekend and this is the big problem more than anything, so we need to work on that,” he added.
“I’m not feeling good, obviously,” Leclerc continued. “Other than all of this, there’s obviously the pace also… The thing that is strange is that the feeling is quite okay in the car, then you look at the pace compared to the Red Bull and they are on another planet completely.
“We need to understand and hopefully by Zandvoort we understand and we come back to as close to Red Bull as we were in the first half of the season,” the Ferrari driver insisted.
As for his Title hopes, Leclerc said: “It starts to look very difficult, especially with the pace [Red Bull] have shown this weekend, it’s going to be very, very difficult.
“But I’ll keep my head down, try to focus race by race and try to do my best,” the five-time race winner concluded.
As it turned out, Leclerc’s over-speeding in the pitlane was due to a faulty sensor on his car, caused by overheating from the visor tear-off that got stuck in his brake ducts at the start of the race.
P9 in Lap 1 then tear off in the brakes that causes front right brake overheating, have to stop to take off the tear off off the brakes, come back to P5, took a 5 seconds penalty for being too quick in pit lane because of a burnt sensor caused by the first issue. Beautiful day! pic.twitter.com/8TbcsiqzEt