Is Charles Leclerc too error-prone? Ferrari deny .
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“There is no reason certainly to blame him,” says Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto, after Charles Leclerc slipped 63 points behind Max Verstappen in the title race with his French GP crash; “He will be back in Hungary stronger and hungrier.”
Ferrari say it is “unfair” to say Charles Leclerc makes too many mistakes to beat Max Verstappen, despite the Monegasque’s crash at the French GP and his own damning verdict on his latest costly F1 error.
Leclerc crashed out while unopposed in the lead in Sunday’s Paul Ricard race, handing the race victory – and a whopping 63-point title lead – to his main rival Max Verstappen.
Afterwards, Leclerc took full responsibility for the “unacceptable” spin and said: “I’ve been saying I’m performing at my highest level in my career but if I keep doing those mistakes, then it’s pointless.”
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He added: “If I keep doing mistakes like this then I deserve to not win the championship.”
Leclerc was referencing his French GP crash and his unforced error while second at the Emilia Romagna GP in April, which ultimately cost him seven points. While he is in his first title fight, he has also made big mistakes in previous seasons and criticised himself, notably in Monaco and Baku.
It has led to suggestions that Leclerc, 24, has a propensity for mistakes – although Ferrari have leapt to the defence of their star driver.
“It is a bit of an unfair judgment,” said team boss Mattia Binotto.
“I think that may happen when you are driving to the limit… but there is no reason certainly to blame him.”
Leclerc said he “just wanted to be alone” until this weekend’s Hungarian GP and Binotto is calling for a Ferrari one-two to bounce back.
“We have always seen that Charles is reacting very strongly and well when he is doing mistakes,” he said.
“I am pretty sure he will be back in Hungary stronger and hungrier.”
Leclerc was also defended by Verstappen after the race, while Red Bull boss Christian Horner refuted claims Leclerc had a “crasher” reputation.
“I don’t think so,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.
“He is a very strong driver. These two guys are pushing each other so hard and these cars are right on the edge in these conditions. His bad luck was our good luck and it’s swung around during the course of the year.”
The 2022 season continues with the Hungarian GP this weekend, with all sessions live on Sky Sports F1. Watch Sunday’s race at 2pm, with build-up from 12.30pm.