Leclerc feeling ‘defeated’ against ‘strong and aggressive’ Verstappen

Charles Leclerc has suffered power unit failures whilst leading at two of the last three races, putting him 34 points behind Max Verstappen.

Charles Leclerc has gone from being the title favourite to being in the “worst situation”, after suffering yet another power unit failure.

It was almost déja vu to the Spanish GP, as Leclerc saw his hopes of victory go up in smoke; his power unit gave way in the early stages of the Azerbaijan GP.

It marks Leclerc’s second PU failure in the last three races, both occurring whilst leading the race.

On both occasions Max Verstappen went on to claim the win, giving the Dutchman the championship lead.

Leclerc has not only seen 50 points slip through his fingers, he’s also seen himself drop to third in the Drivers’ standings, the Ferrari driver is now 34 points behind Verstappen.

The Monegasque’s dominant start to the season seems like an eternity ago, with the number 16 car having not claimed victory since the Australian GP.

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Leclerc’s run of bad form has had absolutely nothing to do with him, with two PU failures sandwiching a strategic error by the team at the Monaco GP.

Leclerc was on track to win his home race when the Italian team got his strategy all wrong, resulting in a 4th place finish.

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With Red Bull Racing now beginning to dominate, Leclerc has lost out on at least 50 points from just the last three rounds.

To make matters worse for the Scuderia, Carlos Sainz also retired from the race at the Baku City Circuit.

The Spaniard suffered a hydraulic issue very early in the race, resulting in Red Bull now having an 80 point advantage over Ferrari.

Danica Patrick, the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel car racing, believes Leclerc will be feeling “defeated”.

“Especially when you’re leading – that’s like the worst situation that you can possibly have,” Patrick said on Sky Sports.

“Carlos went out early so Ferrari clearly has some issues. At the beginning of the season, Red Bull had a few glitches here and there but Ferrari has taken over with that.

“I’m sure Charles is feeling pretty defeated at this point in time, to be leading in a couple of races and have technical issues take you out.

“There’s no room for any more than maybe one DNF for those things in Formula 1 – there’s just not enough races.

“You definitely got that feeling from him in the interviews, he’s very defeated, and I would be too because you feel the slipping away of the Championship, especially when you’re up against somebody like Max who’s just so aggressive and so strong.

“And he’s still so fast even with the issues at the beginning of the season.

“It’s gonna be tough to overcome this, and also Checo is right there in the Championship now too so it’s not just him and Max – it’s Checo too,” she warned.