Charles Leclerc ‘not happy at all’ with Ferrari

Charles Leclerc is 80 points behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers' Standings.

Scuderia Ferrari go into the summer break in a difficult position, with Charles Leclerc 80 points behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship and the team 97 points behind Red Bull Racing in the Constructors’.

Ferrari have only themselves to blame as to why they have fallen-off both championship hunts so dramatically, after a plethora of strategy and reliability problems has seen Leclerc’s title hopes vanish.

The Monegasque has retired twice from the lead this season due to reliability problems; he’s also lost the race lead three further times due to shocking strategic errors by the team.

It’s seen Leclerc shout on the radio at his team a number of times as of late; however, former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa believes it’s important that Leclerc is “patient”.

READ: Sergio Perez unhappy with FIA after Hungary GP as he suffers repeat of Paul Ricard troubles

“Well, definitely, he’s not happy at all,” Massa said on Sky F1’s Any Driven Monday, when asked about Leclerc’s situation.

“But you need to be patient because if you start a fight now, it will not help the team.

“Charles, we cannot forget, in the last race, he made a mistake that just gave away a very good possibility to win the race and score the right amount of points.

“So you need to be patient. So, even if you’re not happy with the decisions, the mistakes that are happening, you need to fight in the right way, professionally.

Article continues below

“Not showing it outside because, if you start to show outside, it is not helping both sides, even if Ferrari made more mistakes this year. A fight outside will not help them.”

This season is the first time since 2018 where Ferrari has a truly competitive car, one that can challenge for victory at any circuit.

Ferrari have won four times in the first half of the season, with Carlos Sainz picking-up his first F1 victory at the British Grand Prix, and Leclerc claiming victory at Bahrain, Australia and Austria.

The Scuderia have potentially got the best car on the grid but have failed to utilise the F1-75’s potential through their own errors.

Massa has enjoyed seeing his former team back in the “fight” but slammed their “bad decisions”.

“It’s actually nice to see Ferrari back in the fight. This is clear for everybody,” he said.

“I think for F1 it was very interesting, just to see Ferrari back winning races, fighting for the championship, especially at the beginning of the season.

“But unfortunately, so many bad decisions or reliability issues happen this year that just took Ferrari away from the fight for the championship.

“Just Ferrari lost many races, many victories, because of that. Also, strategy errors cost many, many points for Ferrari. And it’s a shame because just to see Ferrari fight for the championship at least into the end of the championship and this, for sure, is finished.”

Incredibly, Max Verstappen has been on hand to pick up the pieces every time Ferrari make an error.

The reigning World Champion won the Hungarian Grand Prix due to a Ferrari strategic error, and also the French Grand Prix after Leclerc span-out.

With that in mind, the Dutchman now boasts an 80-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship, something Massa states is “basically finished”.

“So the Drivers’ Championship is basically finished,” he said.

“Max [Verstappen] is doing an amazing job and he deserves to win his second title. But Ferrari has a little risk now because they are not fighting for the Driver’s Championship anymore and they also risk losing second place to Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship.

“The pressure that Ferrari has, day by day, race by race, is never a good pressure for the Italian team. Because things can change. If the wrong things change, decisions that cannot help the team to carry on being competitive and to be growing, this is not a very important thing and isn’t a very good thing for Ferrari.

“So I really hope Ferrari get back to the victories soon because otherwise, things will be not really great for the team and to the end of the season.”

With Ferrari having thrown away their greatest chance at a title in years, it’s rumoured that team principal Mattia Binotto is at risk of the axe, following Ferrari’s downfall.

Massa doesn’t think this is the right option, for someone he knows “very well”.

“I know him very well. We worked together for a very long time, he was an engineer of the engines,” Massa said of Binotto.

“Then he became the boss on the engine side. When he became the technical director and then team principal, I was not there anymore.

“So he’s a very good engineer, he’s a very professional guy. He understands a lot about it on the technical side. He’s also a good guy, to be honest. I like him as a person as well.

READ: ‘That’s disgusting’: Max Verstappen slams his own fans

“But, in the end, you understand that the result is not coming the way it should. So we cannot definitely blame him, but we need to say that he’s part of it.

“There definitely need to be a little bit more calm for decisions, understand what is not happening because the many mistakes that happened at the beginning of the season, in terms of strategy, are still happening.

“He needs to turn and change things in a quick way otherwise he can pay for it, you know?”