1997 Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve believes that Charles Leclerc’s crash at the French Grand Prix was demonstrative of the gap between himself and Max Verstappen right now.
Leclerc had started the race on pole following a scintillating qualifying performance, and withstood heavy pressure from Verstappen in the opening stages.
Verstappen pitted early while Leclerc was left out longer, and the Monegasque lost the rear of his Ferrari at Turn 11, spinning off into the barrier.
This disappointed Villeneuve, who was looking forward to another cracking battle between Red Bull and Ferrari on Sunday, but the Canadian believes that Verstappen is better at handling the pressure of being in the lead.
“The race was good, but could have been so much better, with the enormous heat, we had all the ingredients for a great fight,” he wrote in his column for Formule1.de.
“Leclerc and Verstappen were on the same pace, only Leclerc makes another mistake he shouldn’t make; he admits it himself, he doesn’t deserve the Championship this way.
“I don’t get it either, in Austria he withstood the pressure perfectly.
“That’s the big difference with Verstappen, this doesn’t happen to him. And when he is beaten by Leclerc he often ends up second, that way that huge gap won’t shrink quickly.”
Following multiple reliability failures, strategic errors and Leclerc’s second big mistake of the year, the Canadian suggested that Leclerc and Ferrari are putting on a clinic on how to throw away a championship right now.
“And so, we have a championship with two more or less equal cars, but where one has a big lead. It is the best example of how you will not win a championship,” added Villeneuve.
Verstappen now leads Leclerc by 63 points in the Drivers’ Standings after the Dutchman went on to win in France.