After a strong finish at the Austrian Grand Prix, Ferrari was looking to carry the momentum forward for the French Grand Prix. While both cars were looking strong all weekend, Carlos Sainz had to start at the back of the grid due to various engine penalties. The duo showed excellent teamwork in the qualifying session, as a result of which Charles Leclerc started the French GP at pole position, followed by the two Red Bull drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
He carried on this force onto the race, led 18 laps before spinning into the barriers at turn 11 after losing the rear of his car. It wasn’t clear that, Leclerc’s agitated mention of the throttle pedal if this accident was the result of the driver’s mistake or a repetition of the throttle pedal problems he encountered on the way to winning the Austrian Grand Prix. Right from the start of the season, Ferrari has had reliability concerns, which added to the mounting pressure to convert pole positions into victories. With the victory this weekend, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen now has a 63-point advantage over Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship standings. The crash resulted in Leclerc’s third retirement of the year following two power unit issues in Spain and Azerbaijan.
At the time of the crash, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was 6 seconds behind the leading Ferrari, and Verstappen maked a pit stop for a second set of tires. Leclerc was expected to pit for fresh tyres, when he ran wide at the high-speed Turn 11 and spun into the barriers. Despite being uninjured, Leclerc was distraught by the occurrence and its effects. He shouted, “no!” to his race engineer before saying he “couldn’t get off the throttle” over the team radio. In the post-race interviews, Charles stated that he “made a mistake at the wrong moment.
” He went on to say that “It is a mistake, and that is it. It was trying to push too much and I lost the rear. It has been a very difficult weekend for me, I struggled with the balance of the car.” A disappointed Leclerc stressed over and over, on how this mistake could cost him the championship and criticized the decision he had taken at the time. He talked about how he “doesn’t deserve to win the championship” if he keeps making such mistakes.
“If we lose the championship by 32 points at the end of the season, I will know where those points have come from, and it’s unacceptable. I just need to get on top of those things.” He believes that his costly errors, set him back by 7 points at Imola and 25 at Circuit Paul Ricard. He added that “I think I’m performing at the highest level in my career, but if I keep making those mistakes, then it’s pointless to perform at a very high level. I’m losing too many points.” He also clarified that his retirement this time around wasn’t due to mechanical issues but just a result of an error made by him. Stay tuned at TheSportsWay for more updates.