Ex-F1 champion says ‘charming’ Charles Leclerc needs to be more like Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has one hand on the Drivers' Championship in 2022.

1996 world champion, Damon Hill, reckons that Charles Leclerc cuts a more nervous figure behind the wheel of his Ferrari than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The Monegasque came into the season with one of the quickest cars on the grid after the Scuderia had mastered the technical regulations, and he won two of the opening three rounds of the season.

But Verstappen has bounced back from his two reliability failures early doors, and he has since taken his win total up to 11 for the campaign.

It leaves him 116 points ahead of the Ferrari driver with six rounds to go of the 2022 season, and he is within touching distance of his second Drivers’ Championship.

READ: Ex-Ferrari boss makes Juventus joke when asked about rumour

The 24-year-old has started on pole three times this year, while his title rival has had the best view in the house off the start line on eight occasions.

Ferrari have been out-done by Red Bull’s exquisite race pace over the course of this season, but they have not exactly helped themselves either.

A multitude of reliability failures and strategic mistakes have squandered Leclerc’s chances of success, and that has also cost Carlos Sainz valuable championship points too.

Throw in some driver errors, and Verstappen is set to stroll to the title, with Sergio Perez helping the Austrian side to the constructors’ crown.

Article continues below

All of this, in Hill’s eyes, has led to a cool, calm and collected Verstappen, which the Briton does not see in Leclerc.

“I think it is that sense of comfort and confidence that Max has,” Hill told the F1 Nation Podcast.

“I think the first time we interviewed him, and it’s this 17-year-old guy, and he just knew how to handle himself. He just had so much confidence. It was utterly unbelievable for a 17-year-old.

“And Charles is a very charming, intelligent kid, but he’s anxious, he’s got an anxiety there.”

The 62-year-old compared Leclerc to seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, who was renowned throughout the paddock as being highly unapologetic.

READ: Max Verstappen makes surprising claim about title fight with Charles Leclerc

“I thought the first time I heard him say, ‘I’m really sorry guys, that was all my fault’, I just thought ‘can’t imagine Michael Schumacher saying that ever’,” explained Hill.

Leclerc has won one race since the Australian Grand Prix, taking P1 in Austria, while Sainz and Perez have won one a piece this season, in Silverstone and Monaco, respectively.

Verstappen is on course to win 17 races this season, smashing the records for the most wins in a single season, as well as the most consecutive wins for a single driver.