It is often said, not without reason, that Ferrari has thrown away the possibility of at least fighting for the 2022 F1 title until the end, having produced a car that was the benchmark at the start of the season.
Strategy errors, reliability problems and failures in the pitstops left Carlos Sainz out of the battle for the championship and gradually reduced, until leaving him with almost no options, a Leclerc who now only has to try to be runner-up against Czech Perez .
It was precisely the Mexican who took the victory this Sunday in Singapore, but it was not a fight that Red Bull won against the Cavallino , but rather one that Charles Leclerc lost due to his own demerits.
On Saturday, the Monegasque achieved pole position in Singapore, on a circuit where the driver who started first had won 8 out of 12 times until then. It was the Monegasque’s ninth pole position in F1 in 2022, despite the fact that he has only been able to transform two of them into victory (in his career in F1 he has 18 pole positions and 5 wins).
On Sunday, with intermediate tyres, he was unable to keep the lead at the start, being surprised by Pérez’s Red Bull.
“I had a bad start. I still don’t really know what happened, if it was something that I did wrong or something else that we have to analyze. The only thing I felt is that I skidded, and then I lost it, and I saw that Checo had an incredible start.” , he reflected.
He admitted a bittersweet taste because the Ferrari F1-75 was competitive, but in turn could not win at Marina Bay. In fact, he had already failed at the start of Imola , where after the main race he started second and dropped to fourth place. When asked if he had the same feeling, he denied it: “I don’t think the two are linked. Carlos [Sainz] made a great start today, but I skidded and Perez made a great start.”
After the Mexican, he threw himself for much of the race, being able to stick to him after the Safety Cars (virtual and real), with a pace that seemed higher. However, despite being able to use DRS, he couldn’t find the time to overtake at a time when the track had a dry lane and complicated off-line conditions.
This caused him to wear out his tires so much that, despite the fact that Sergio Pérez would be sanctioned afterwards, the advantage at the finish line had been enough for Leclerc not to inherit the victory. “I tried to put a lot of pressure on Checo, but in the end the tires overheated and I lost performance. It wasn’t easy to stay glued to Sergio’s gearbox, but I tried,” he explained.
And no, running out of tires trying to overtake a winner is not a mistake, but the #16 had made another mistake before, curiously in a facet in which the one who usually makes mistakes is his team.
It happened in his first pitstop, when, slipping, he stopped a meter in front of the box where the drivers have to brake, slowing down the process and making his stop more than five seconds.
In the end, the failure at the time of the tire change was not decisive considering the start, where everything really came together. But it is another mistake that can be pointed out directly to the driver and exculpate a team that is showered with criticism every weekend. And where a victory was lost that would have been the first for Leclerc and Ferrari since July 10 in which they won in Austria. It would have been a good way to break the losing streak and start to recover morale and feelings for 2023 where they will be among the favorites again.