French GP – Ferrari serves victory to Red Bull with silver: 108 points less for Charles Leclerc

a hole The day after the French Grand Prix, Max Verstappen (Red Bull) distanced Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) by 63 points in the championship. An unprecedented gap in F1 in the last five years after 12 tests… and one that looks difficult for the Monegasque to overcome, with ten races to go. Last year, Verstappen had a 3-unit payout on Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).

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Thus, on Monday morning, the international press was unanimous: for its mistakes and those of its drivers, Ferrari is serving the world titles on a silver platter to Red Bull and Max Verstappen. A harsh but unforgiving observation, which comes after Charles Leclerc’s second mistake of the season at Le Castellet. Installed at the head of the race with a 10-second advantage over Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), the representative of the Principality has driven his SF-75 against a wall of tires. His Dutch rival took the opportunity to take the 25 points promised to the winner. And plunge a little more Ferrari into a crisis of results.

Because the representative of the Principality is not the only one responsible for the problems of the Scuderia. The red single-seater is perhaps the most powerful on the grid, but that’s not all. When reliability leaves the transalpine team alone, the strategists take over and drift in the race, between driver management issues and (often) failed decisions. Team spade mistakes in the Prancing Horse cost a lot of points. Example with Leclerc: what would have been his situation before the Hungarian Grand Prix, this Sunday, if he had not been affected by all these problems?

EMILIA ROMAGNA GRAND PRIZE: 7 POINTS

  • State : P3 in the 53rd of 63 laps (15 points)
  • Cause: error – track excursion
  • Final result: P6 (8 points)

The first misstep of the season. His poor start from the front row cost him two places and forced him to take risks to face Max Verstappen (Red Bull), pole man. Charles Leclerc swaps his mediums for softs on lap 49 and overtakes Lando Norris (McLaren) for P3. It is placed in the mirrors of Sergio Pérez (Red Bull). The outcome is inevitable, but the Monegasque climbs a curb on the Variante Alta and goes to hit the protections, damaging his front left side. Forced to return to the pits after being overtaken by Norris, he came out P9 and managed to move up three positions. Leclerc is doing well, but loses 7 points.

SPANISH GRAND PRIX: 25 POINTS

  • State : From 1 to 27 of 66 laps (25 points)
  • Cause: engine failure
  • Final result: abandonment (0 points)

He is promised victory. On lap 27, Charles Leclerc took a 13 second lead over George Russell. Max Verstappen is not in good form: the Dutchman visits the gravel pit and does not seem able to worry the Monegasque, who maintains the lead after the pit stop. The Ferrari brakes suddenly. Loss of power. Engine breakdown. First retirement of the season. And a shout out to the radio… “Noooo!” – which will return often during the season. Thanks to a Red Bull instruction, Verstappen overtakes Sergio Perez, takes victory and takes control of the championship for the first time in 2022.

MONACO GRAND PRIX: 13 POINTS

  • State : From 1 to 17 of 64 laps (25 points)
  • Cause: strategy: unwanted pit stops
  • Final result: P4 (12 points)

Charles Leclerc does not want to hear about “curse” in his national Grand Prix. To see him finish a race in Monaco, you have to go back to 2010 and a karting competition organized in the Port. The local of the stage built his weekend well, taking a stick celebrated throughout the Principality until the early hours of the morning. Before the cold shower.

First literally: downpours hit the circuit a few minutes before the start, forcing organizers to postpone the race by an hour. Then, figuratively: in the lead while the track was dry, Leclerc suffered the strategy of Sergio Pérez (Red Bull), who passed the intermediate two laps earlier and took the first place from him. The Ferrari driver was retired three laps later by his engineer… and had to wait behind team-mate Carlos Sainz in the pit lane. He eventually finished at the foot of the podium, behind Max Verstappen (Red Bull), and conceded 13 points.

AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIZE: 25 POINTS

  • State : From 1 to 20 of 51 laps (25 points)
  • Cause: engine failure
  • Final result: abandonment (0 points)

Smoke leaves the car of Charles Leclerc, then solid leader of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with more than 11 seconds advantage over his rival for the world crown, after 20 laps. Carafe engine Double abandonment Ferrari, as Carlos Sainz is affected by a hydraulic failure. The Barcelona scene repeats itself. Voices are raised for the first time to denounce the lack of reliability of the Scuderia’s cars. As for the previous three races, the Monegasque’s pole position went up in smoke. Meanwhile, Red Bull has 44 points.

GRAND PRIX BRITAIN: 13 POINTS

  • State : From 1 to 42 of 52 laps (25 points)
  • Cause: strategy: no pit stop under the safety car
  • Final result: P4 (12 points)

The sacrificed The Monegasque leads at Silverstone after 39 laps, taking advantage of Max Verstappen’s (Red Bull) setbacks in the 12th loop. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) was forced to retire and caused the safety car to come out. Charles Leclerc remains on track, unlike his pursuers Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Sergio Pérez (Red Bull), who leave the pits with tenders. Left to his lonesome with his hard-worn, he heroically resists before being bitten. It is from the foot of the podium that he will see his teammate celebrate his first victory.

GRAND PRIZE OF FRENCH: 25 POINTS

  • State : From 1 to 18 of 53 laps (25 points)
  • Cause: error – track excursion
  • Final result: abandonment (0 points)

Again, the Saturday afternoon masterclass is useless. However, it is the result of teamwork, supposedly to show unity within the Scuderia. Superior to Max Verstappen (Red Bull) in the first laps, Charles Leclerc has to pick up the pace to protect himself from the Dutchman’s attempt to undercut. He then committed his biggest Ferrari fault since his arrival in 2020 by losing the rear at the start of Beausset’s double straight. Abandonment A leap of concentration with great consequences. A big turning point in the season.

RATING: 108 POINTS LOST

One hundred points, in a perfect world, should have gone to Monegasque. It’s too much for the driver, but mostly for the team. At the end of the French Grand Prix on Sunday, in a welcome exercise of self-criticism, Leclerc quantified his responsibility at 32 points. This leaves 76 units in charge of the Scuderia.

And again, we have not taken into account the Grand Prix of Canada, which the representative of the Principality finished in fifth place. He had started from the bottom of the net, penalized by a powerhouse change, and could have added extra points to his pocket. Since the start of the season, and apart from the inaugural Grand Prix, Ferrari has had the greatest difficulty in putting everything together to have a perfect weekend.

With 63 points to make up, the dough is almost gone. In the Red Bull field, we are already starting to count the number of victories to ensure a second consecutive coronation for Max Verstappen (“between three and five more” according to Helmut Marko). The Austrian team leaves the transalpine radar, in which Mercedes appears dangerously. There is one race left before the summer holidays. The characteristics of the Hongaroring adhere well to those of the SF-75. “We have many reasons to smile and be positive, because our goal in Hungary should not be to win, but to achieve a double”Mattia Binotto argued.

Leclerc and Ferrari will have to get back in the saddle quickly to give themselves a (small) chance and not lose everything. Otherwise, the words of the head of the Scuderia, spoken before the start of the season, will tragically return: “You always told me to give Charles Leclerc a nice car. Now we’ll see.”

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