In 2022, Scuderia Ferrari seemed to once again have the necessary tools to challenge for a title. However, the F1-75 ‘s good early performance was followed by several mistakes that cost it many points.
The Italian team was in the spotlight especially during the summer, when Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing began to put land in the general classification.
Whether in strategy or reliability, Ferrari did not always shine, and those collective mistakes were compounded by the individual errors of the drivers. In the case of Charles Leclerc, Verstappen’s main adversary since the start of the campaign, three episodes stand out: the spin in Imola chasing Sergio Pérez, at a time when he was comfortably leading the championship; the track exit at Paul Ricard, which allowed the Dutchman to extend his distance in the standings; and, finally, the braking pass in Suzuka, which was the final coup de grace to an already decaffeinated fight.
Some of these mistakes were seen by some as the consequences of a high-pressure situation where, knowing the car wasn’t giving it its all, Leclerc pushed a little beyond the limits . However, the driver rejects this view : “I don’t think that by making the mistakes I had to compensate for anything,” he told RacingNews365.
“Obviously I was motivated at [Ferrari’s] home race at Imola, and then in France I made a mistake. But I think it could have happened at any other point in the season. For me it’s not that. I try to go to the limit. all the time. I had a big mistake in France and a smaller one in Imola. I can’t change that.”
“I think we talked about it a lot more than we should. Obviously, looking at the points difference, it’s huge and there were back-to-back losses. There was a time when everything we were doing was being scrutinized. As a team, we just have to be better on Sundays, and that’s what we have to work on”.
“I wouldn’t have changed much from the beginning of the season,” says Leclerc
Charles Leclerc in the pits after his spin at Imola
Just turned 25, Leclerc has entered the fight for the world title for the first time in his career and sees this season, and his personal mistakes, as an opportunity to improve: “Honestly, I’m very happy with this season”, said.
“Of course we will always talk about my mistakes at Imola and France, but through 22 races – we already have too many – there will always be a mistake at some point, and especially [when you are] on the limit. So yeah, I was probably too greedy in France when there was no need to be.”
“From a driver’s point of view, it gave me a lot more things [to learn and work on] that you probably don’t see from the outside. As a driver, you always try to work on the little things, not the weak spots, but every time you race You learn from it. You try to move on and be a better driver. Personally, I wouldn’t have changed much from the beginning of the season.”
Despite the exposure, and therefore the added pressure, Leclerc is enjoying being in the fight for the title : “Actually, I feel much more comfortable in a situation like this than last year, when you are fighting for the 6th or 7th place. Even if you do a good job, no one notices, it’s really frustrating.”
“But this year people have also noticed when we’ve done wrong. Everything you do takes on more scope, but that’s good. I’d rather be in the light than work in the dark without anyone noticing. It’s a good situation, but yes, it comes with more external pressure.”
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