Charles Leclerc found season finale ‘very difficult’ due to Mattia Binotto ‘rumours’

Charles Leclerc has been accused of having played a role in Mattia Binotto's resignation from Ferrari.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was anything but a simple weekend for Charles Leclerc, with the Monegasque having known that he would only claim second in the Drivers’ Championship if he beat Sergio PĂ©rez.

Remarkably, the 24-year-old achieved just that, after Ferrari incredibly got their strategy spot on, something which the Italians couldn’t say for the majority of the year.

The weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit was one where a lot of speculation surrounded the Maranello-based team, with there having been reports from Italy prior to the finale that team principal Mattia Binotto was going to be sacked.

Ferrari, at the time, denied the reports; however, it was announced Tuesday morning by the Italians that Binotto had resigned from the role.

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Leclerc admitted in Abu Dhabi that the Binotto rumours made the build-up to the finale “very, very difficult”, but that he was “proud” of his team’s strategic “perfection” in the end.

“Coming into this weekend, it was very, very difficult,” he told reporters.

“We had a lot of outside pressures, a lot of rumours around the team and it’s always very difficult to extract all of these things and focus on the job.

“But we did it to perfection, so I’m very proud of the team.”

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Leclerc’s relationship with Binotto is one that has been questioned, with some having wondered if the driver played a role in the Italian resigning.

Some of the reports over Binotto’s Ferrari status actually came from the driver’s entourage; however, many don’t see Leclerc as the sort of person to oust someone.

Leclerc actually discussed in Abu Dhabi how much his P2 in the standings and Ferrari’s P2 in the Constructors’ Championship meant to him, given that the Scuderia were in the midfield in 2020 and 2021.

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“I think as a team it means a lot, because considering how much struggle we’ve had in 2020 and 2021 to finally be second in the Constructors’ Championship means a lot,” added Leclerc.

“We don’t want to stop here, second place is good but we’re all fighting and working to get to first as soon as possible.

“This has been a good step forward, but it’s been a frustrating year obviously, for the reasons we know, and we will be all working extremely hard during the winter break to do the next step forward and beat Red Bull.”