Ex-F1 driver’s ‘money’ on Charles Leclerc but tips surprising driver to do well in Belgium

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

Charles Leclerc needs the best second half performance of his life, should he wish to be crowned the 2022 Drivers’ Champion.

With nine races remaining, he sits 80 points behind Max Verstappen, who can miss the entire triple-header and still lead the standings by at least two points.

Leclerc needs things to start going in his favour should he somehow claw back the huge gap to Verstappen, starting off with better strategies by his team.

Ferrari cost Leclerc too many points in the first half of the season, with the Monegasque driver losing three potential race victories due to strategic errors; one more error would all but end his hopes of becoming World Champion this year.

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Leclerc needs near-perfection to beat Verstappen to the crown; anything less than that, and he’ll have to settle for second, at best.

A victory this weekend would be the perfect start to the second half of the season, especially as he’ll be able to carry some momentum into the second part of the triple-header.

Leclerc simply can’t let Verstappen win in Belgium, with the Monegasque almost certainly going to have to get his elbows out should he want to taste title victory.

Ex-F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya has predicted Leclerc to win this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, with the Colombian predicting the circuit to suit Ferrari better than Red Bull Racing.

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“My money would be on Charles,” the Columbian said.

“I am normally a big Max guy to win all these races, but I think that track might be a Ferrari track.

“It is a strong track, it is a fast track, you know, they have a lot of pace.

“I think Red Bull has a lot of pace too. It is a good track for a guy like Checo, I think he performed really, really well,” he added.

Montoya predicts that Sergio Pérez could be in with a shout this weekend, with the circuit being one that drivers can find easier to get into a rhythm on.

The flowing track allows drivers to find lap-time easier, something which should suit Leclerc if he needs to find time during the race, especially if Ferrari makes another mistake.

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“There are tracks like, I think, Budapest. Budapest is very difficult, very technical, and is very hard to get a lap time out of you,” he said.

“Whereas with Spa, it just flows a lot easier, the lap time comes a lot easier. So I think Checo is going to be right there, I think Max is going to be right there.

“But if I would put a bet today, my bet today would probably be on Charles with the Ferrari,” the 46-year-old insisted.