The current leader of the world championship arrived at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix race with the intention of continuing to increase his lead in the standings, but the Imola race had something totally different in store for him.
From the start, Charles Leclerc was stuck behind the two Red Bulls, and was unable to overtake Sergio Pérez, who easily took second position thanks to the pace of his RB18. The companion of the Mexican and current world champion, Max Verstappen, achieved the second Grand Chelem of his career, which further sank Ferrari’s spirits in one of its houses.
In his desperate attempt to make up ground, Leclerc made a mistake in the High Variation and ended up with his car against the wall. The man from Monaco was able to get out of there and return to the pits to mount a new wing and the soft tires with which he recovered from 9th to 6th final position.
After seeing the checkered flag with a bitter taste, he said: “It’s a great shame. What happened before the spin, it’s details, and it’s part of racing, but I think that mistake shouldn’t have happened, third position was the best I could.”
“We didn’t have the pace for much more, and I was too greedy,” acknowledged the Ferrari driver. “I hit the price for it, and I lost seven points from third place before, so it’s a shame.”
Leclerc still retains the leadership of the drivers’ championship, but he has seen how Max Verstappen has approached and already has 59 points , while he has 86 : “There are seven points, which are valuable at the end of the championship, without a doubt. And this is not It should happen again.”
With 19 grands prix still to go, Red Bull has clearly improved from the pace they showed on Sunday at Imola, and it looks set to tighten as the year progresses. However, the Monegasque is cautious, and does not want to make predictions.
“It’s impossible to know, I think it’s very difficult to know, so we’ll see,” he said. “Only time will tell how far they have gone, but for sure they seem to be more competitive than in the first three races or the like at Jeddah.”
“We’ve had the advantage in Bahrain and Australia, and they’ve had it this weekend and in Saudi Arabia, so it’s very, very close. I think it will be like that for the rest of the season,” said the 24-year-old. .
Leclerc will be able to rest next weekend to recharge his batteries ahead of the opening of the Miami Grand Prix, where he wants to break with this dynamic that has dragged on in Imola, being behind Red Bull, risking more than he should.
“It’s a big mistake, but in reality the consequences could have been much greater. It’s only seven points today, but it would cost more next time, so I have to be careful with that.”