Despite a difference of 49 points in the classification of drivers with the leader, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc remains in the race for the 2022 World Cup. Jacques Villeneuve, however, believes that there are still unknowns about the ability of the Monegasque driver to face this challenge.
The Ferrari driver got off to a good start in the 2022 season and led the Drivers ’World Championship for several races. However, the leader of the classification changed after a good streak of Max Verstappen and Red Bull in Imola, while Leclerc and the Escuderia suffered reliability problems in Spain and Azerbaijan. There was also a pit stop strategy problem for the Italian team in Monaco that caused Leclerc to drop from first to fourth place.
At the Canadian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was forced to leave from nineteenth position on the grid due to penalties for engine changes, but the Ferrari driver managed to climb back to fifth position during the race. He currently ranks third in the drivers’ standings, three points behind second-placed Sergio Pérez and 49 points behind leader Max Verstappen.
Despite this progression of the Monegasque rider in Montreal, Jacques Villeneuve believes that the end result has not been as good as it should have been. ” When you go in a Ferrari, you should only have one Red Bull in front of you“, said the Canadian as part of the podcast F1 Nation. ” Is true. Before the race, they took those penalties because it’s Montreal and, in their minds, the worst they could finish was in 4th place, with Perez still in the race. They didn’t, so this also shows how Lewis [Hamilton] it was good, because he [était] in fact in front of a Ferrari. »
” There was also a safety car that allowed Charles to approach the group, and he finished fifth. It’s a good point recovery, but it’s not enough. »
“They made a bad pit stop and went out behind four cars instead of in front of them. Fighting for these positions killed their tires, and that’s why they didn’t get the Mercedes in the end. »
Asked about Charles Leclerc’s season so far, Villeneuve replied: ” It’s super fast but for now, he still makes a few small mistakes that he shouldn’t make. Imola, for example [où un tête-à-queue lui a coûté un podium]. Well, the team doesn’t help it, but that’s the energy they all have together. »
” Right now we know he’s fast, he’s aggressive. Is he world champion? Is he like Max? How are you under pressure when it’s time to get important points for the championship? This is what we have yet to discover. »
Leclerc has often shown a strong lap pace and has achieved six pole positions so far in 2022. But when asked if there was a faster rider than him, Jacques Villeneuve replied: ” Most likely! There is always a faster man, but the faster man also depends on his car and his setup. »
“Just remember [Valtteri] Bottas, when he got all the sticks instead of Lewis Hamilton. He was preparing his car to get those sticks but then, in the race, he was killing his tires. So is it because he was the fastest man or was he preparing the car to do it? »
“If Charles can go at the same pace as Max Verstappen and no longer make mistakes like Imola, then he will be at the level of Max, but it is a difficult position to maintain race after race.. concluded Jacques Villeneuve.