Leclerc delivers confident speech after losing Formula 1 lead

Leclerc delivers confident speech after losing Formula 1 lead

So Paulo, SP (UOL/FOLHAPRESS) – After the Australian GP, ​​Max Verstappen said “you can’t even think about the championship anymore, we have to focus on finishing the race”. This is because he has had problems with two of the three races he has played so far, and has seen Red Bull spend more tires than rival Ferrari. With this, Charles Leclerc’s lead in the championship was 46 points higher than Verstappen, who was in sixth place. And Red Bull had 49 points less than the Italian team.

But the game has completely shifted from there to here. Verstappen was perfect in the Emilia Romagna, winning the sprint, setting the GP and the fastest lap. That race was the first sign that the strategy of bringing in smaller but more frequent updates was helping Red Bull. The RB18 was losing weight and getting lighter on the tires and also faster on the straights, ending the race speed advantage Ferrari had at the start of the year. The trend was emphasized when it was very hot in Miami, and Leclerc had no answer for Verstappen.

The championship left Miami with Leclerc and Ferrari (19 points clear in the Drivers’ Championship and just six in the Constructors’ Championship, with Scuderia struggling to score with both drivers). In the next phase, in Barcelona, ​​the Italian team will take its first update since the car’s launch, aiming to reduce porpoising and improve straight-line speed.

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The news didn’t work right away, but the team changed the car’s setup over the weekend and things got better. The straight line speed was similar to that of Red Bull in Barcelona, ​​which is the first positive point. On Saturday, however, it was unclear who had the fastest car: Verstappen’s DRS failed on the last fast lap and Leclerc took pole.

On Sunday, there was also no confirmation of Ferrari’s tires falling over a few laps with Leclerc, who had always been more comfortable with the car than Sainz. He opened 2s for Verstappen in the first eight laps, and then the Dutchman survived and dropped to fourth. Being able to control the speed, Leclerc was one of the last to stop and had already gained 12s before his turbo failed.

It’s hard to predict what will happen at the Spanish GP without Verstappen’s escape and Leclerc’s break. But what the start of the race showed is a Ferrari faster on the straight and more complete with tyres, with Red Bull returning to balance the game.

“Honestly, things were going really well,” Leclerc said when asked if he thought he could have won the race without the crash. “I think it will be difficult for him to reach because I had an advantage and the level of fall was great, I even managed to do more laps than him. Overall, I think I had the race under control.”

With Monegasque’s return and Verstappen’s victory, his third in a row, Leclerc is now six points behind the Dutchman in the championship, and Ferrari 26 behind as Red Bull took a couple of fastest laps at Barcelona.

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Still, Leclerc said he left Spain more satisfied than in the previous two races. “I think several signs were positive: our qualifying pace, the new package working as expected, our race pace, tire management after two races where we were suffering in comparison to Red Bull. Many are positive.”

Leclerc, on the other hand, will have to face Verstappen with basically the same car until at least the beginning of July, as warned by boss Mattia Binotto. “Spend is deciding what we’re going to do. We can’t waste money, so when we have something important we’ll bring you news. So anything more important will only be found by the British GP.”

This weekend, Leclerc and Verstappen meet on a very different circuit: in Monaco. In theory, Ferrari has the advantage in slow corners, but on the other hand, the home driver faces the ghost of never finishing the race in Monaco.

About the author: Cory Weinberg

"Student. Subtly charming organizer. Certified music advocate. Writer. Lifelong troublemaker. Twitter lover."

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