Charles Leclerc can still look back positively after Ferrari’s more or less dramatic season. Looking at the bigger picture, a lot has gone wrong. The fact that Ferrari is being so criticized on social media channels is not easy for Leclerc, he is mainly focused on himself and his performance. Monegask acknowledges Ferrari’s performance has been more stable. The mixed results of Grand Prix after Grand Prix particularly killed the Scuderia.
At least until the summer break, the Ferrari driver was still hoping to win the 2022 title. When the Maranello team arrived in Belgium and it was time to start the second half of the season, it became clear that Ferrari was sorely lacking in performance compared to Red Bull Racing. “I realized after Spa that I might not win the title,” Leclerc said. Motorsport Magazine. This is where I saw the difference in performance. In the first half it wasn’t noticeable. But it got tough from Belgium,” says the Ferrari driver.
Because of the fatal error in the strategy, Ferrari lost a few points in the first half of the season. They went to Belgium with the backlog after the summer vacation, and the backlog did not decrease. “We knew then that the car wasn’t what we wanted,” Monegask explains. “But at the spa we weren’t in good shape at all,” Leclerc says candidly. “At Monza it wasn’t too bad, we were still slower than Red Bull on Sunday, but not as weak as Spa.” At Monza, Leclerc took pole position and was the Italian’s favorite to win anyway. The race ended due to an accident under the safety car. Max Verstappen won the race at Ferrari’s home circuit.
Leclerc: “The performance gap was there, but it wasn’t huge”
All season it was clear that Red Bull had the better car. However, the difference was not huge. “The performance gap was there, but it wasn’t huge,” explains the 25-year-old. “We’ve been competitive all season. The problem was that we weren’t in every race. We lost a lot of points because of that. Several times Ferrari failed to improve everything on race day. There was no victory in the second half of the season.” Really need to work on that, and deliver better, more stable results with a capable car.”
Despite the fact that things are going wrong, Leclerc is still happy with his season. “Honestly, I’m happy with this season. Of course we have to talk about my mistakes at Imola and France, but in 22 races it is always possible to make a mistake, especially when you push yourself to the limits,” says the Ferrari driver. “If you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, I don’t think more people would have believed at the start of the season that we were going to have such a good performance. It’s very positive. Now we have to take the next step and fight for the title,” Monegasque said.
Leclerc doesn’t pay attention to negative comments about his team
Ferrari has been tossed around all over social media for missed winning chances. Leclerc doesn’t notice. “I just don’t notice,” says the 25-year-old. At a certain point you get used to it and then you just have to keep going. I don’t want to focus on what is being said externally. I look at the team and focus on them, and whether they know what we need to work on,” Leclerc explained. “I try to be as discreet as possible in the media, but internally I want to hear that. In the end it’s all about teamwork, everything has to get along with each other.
Teammate Carlos Sainz has been able to give Leclerc more and more support throughout the season. The Spaniard is starting to feel better in the car. Both gentlemen are very competitive, but Leclerc notes that the atmosphere is friendly between them. “We have a very good relationship,” says the Ferrari driver. He is also a very hard worker. Carlos is a consistent driver and I think we’re a good match.” Sainz was able to fight better and better towards the end of the season, which made it seem as if Leclerc was getting a little slower, and Sainz faster. “I hope he gets faster!” Leclerc jokes. “I always try improve myself. I already knew the car, he hadn’t figured it out yet, so he joined later.
Max did a great job, I have a lot of respect for that.
In addition to his teammate, Leclerc could also go through the same door with his title rival Max Verstappen. The two have known each other since they were thirteen years old, when they were racing together. “This situation was different, of course,” Leclerc looks back. Max did a very good job, and I respect that a lot. I know how far we’ve come since our karting days. Then we both dreamed of a Formula 1 seat, and now we’re both here. Of course I respect him,” concludes Leclerc.