Charles Leclerc’s bid for the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship is all but over after Max Verstappen claimed a vital win at the Italian Grand Prix to inch his way closer to the crown.
The Monegasque was in a position to make a run for the victory but could not find the speed out of his Ferrari to close the gap on Verstappen, despite making a stop in the early stages to change strategy.
Ferrari and Leclerc were disappointed at the end of the contest as the race finished under a safety car, but in reality, they were never going to be able to beat out the Dutchman, as highlighted in this report. It has been the story of the season for Ferrari and Leclerc.
The 24-year-old is now in a battle to ensure that he finishes as the best of the rest, and at betuk.com/betting/motor-racing you can see his odds to place above his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr with a price of 4/1. However, he cannot afford to rest on his laurels amid his dip in form during the middle stretch of the season.
At the start of the season, Leclerc appeared to be ready to challenge Verstappen for the crown and produced an excellent performance in the opening race of the season in Bahrain, as described by BBC sport and sustained his form to win his second race of the campaign in Australia.
Ferrari got off to a great start to this season but faltered since
All the signs were suggesting that Ferrari had the pace and dynamic ability to make a serious challenge for their first crown in 15 years. It proved to be a false dawn for the Italian outfit and Leclerc, who has managed only one win since the third week of the season.
🏁 CHARLES LECLERC WINS IN BAHRAIN! 🏆 He takes the first win of 2022 after an epic fight with Max Verstappen 👏
At times, Leclerc has been able to manoeuvre himself into strong positions, earning eight pole positions in 16 races to date. Unfortunately for the Monegasque, he has only been able to convert two of those pole positions into victories.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of the season has been the three poles that resulted in retirements.
Not finishing first is a blow in a battle with Verstappen, but failing to record points at all is a reason why the Dutchman is so far ahead at this stage of the campaign and seemingly on the way to the largest margin of victory in the history of the Drivers’ Championship.
The question for Leclerc will be how he responds to the setback
One example of ending a disappointing campaign on a high note came in 2015 when Nico Rosberg lost the Drivers’ Championship race comfortably to Lewis Hamilton but responded by winning the final four races of the campaign.
He used that confidence and momentum in the 2016 season to stun the Brit to take his one and only title before retiring from the sport.
Momentum is a key aspect of every sport and Verstappen certainly built on his triumph last season with a sensational run in the 2022 season.
There is still time for Leclerc to take positives out of the term to ensure that it is not completely wasted and maybe then he could have a springboard to greater success in 2023.