2022 was an overall strong season for Charles Leclerc, who would’ve pushed double World Champion Max Verstappen all the way had Ferrari not suffered from a catalogue of strategic errors.
Leclerc’s season started emphatically, with the Monegasque having claimed two wins from the opening three races of the season, something which saw himself and Ferrari tipped as the title favourites.
This title appeared to unsettle the Maranello-based team, as errors quickly crept in starting from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Leclerc made an unnecessary driver error at Imola, which saw him throw away a podium at the home of Ferrari.
From then on, Ferrari suffered either a reliability failure, strategic blunder, or driver error at almost every round for the remainder of the season, something which allowed Verstappen and Red Bull to escape to glory.
Whilst Leclerc did manage to claim second in the Drivers’ Championship, with Ferrari claiming second in the Constructors’, the 25-year-old admitted that all their errors ultimately “added up”, with it happening “race after race after race”.
“It all started very well,” Leclerc told The Race.
“Then we’ve had some technical issues back-to-back, some wrong strategy calls in some races, and then the mistake in France.
“All of these added up. And all of this was race after race after race after race. So it was quite difficult to get a grip and then we came to the second half of the season where basically Red Bull did a step up in terms of performance and have been very strong since we came back from the break.”
Ferrari had an excellent package this season and were always quick on a Friday and a Saturday, with Sunday proving to be their downfall.
With this in mind, Leclerc revealed that the team’s “main target” is to improve on race day, something they are “working on”.
“Our main target now is to become a better team coming Sunday and that means everything – good calls, good strategy, good communication, good tyre management,” Leclerc said.
“This is everything as a whole and I think step by step we are working on all of these different things.”
Ferrari did suffer from a ridiculous number of errors; there is no doubting that; however, there is also no doubting that the Italians made an extraordinary comeback to the front of the field, given that they were battling in the midfield in 2021.
Following the Japanese Grand Prix, Leclerc demanded that Ferrari start “making the right calls”, something there were signs of at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, especially.
At the Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari performed a shock strategic masterclass, which ended up sealing Leclerc P2 in the standings.
“The team has done an incredible job of doing such a step forward in terms of performance from last year to this year,” added Leclerc.
“But I believe that the last bit is as hard as the bit we’ve done now.
“To go and find the last details, to actually be a strong team coming on Sunday and making the right calls, the right decisions at the right time, in different conditions, is something super important.
“We’ve been working on it a lot in the last three races. And I think we’ve made some steps forward already.
“But we need to keep working because as we saw last Sunday in Suzuka, we’ve been struggling with tyre degradation.
“We’ve seen that we’ve definitely made a step forward on Sunday since the last few races but it’s not yet consistent. And we still need to work on that.”