Leclerc warned he can’t be ‘rash’ when battling Verstappen for 2022 F1 crown

Charles Leclerc's spin at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix took him off the podium.

1996 world champion Damon Hill says that Charles Leclerc needs to learn when to be composed and when to push in his title battle with Max Verstappen.

Leclerc pitted late on in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix while running behind Verstappen and his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in a bid to go for the fastest lap.

The Milton Keynes side then pitted the Mexican, but the undercut for the 24-year-old put him on Perez’s tail, so he found himself striving both for the fastest lap and second position.

READ: Leclerc admits he ‘got lucky’ with Imola mistake, denies pressure induced it

As they approached the Variante Alta chicane though, Leclerc took too much kerb in his exuberant pursuit of the 32-year-old, and span into the wall.

He missed out on a podium as a result, and what could easily have been a 34-point lead in the championship over eventual race winner Verstappen became a 27-point advantage.

Hill opines that Leclerc might have been more measured in his approach, and realised that P3 behind the patently quicker Red Bulls on the day would not have been a bad result.

“We’ve seen with Charles of course, Imola was an opportunity to consolidate,” he said on the F1 Nations podcast.

“And he went for a move which was just a little bit too ambitious, and he called it greedy. I was watching sitting down. Literally, I almost grabbed my wife’s leg as he turned in, [when] they showed it from the onboard.

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“The moment he turned in, you knew it was too much. I’m not even in the car and I could see it on the telly. I was going, ‘That is not going to work.’ Boom, he spun off.”

The 61-year-old, who claimed 22 race wins with a combination of Williams and Jordan, indicates that the Monegasque can learn a thing or two from Perez’s calm and consistent manner, acknowledging when is best not to be extravagant with his driving style.

“[Leclerc] just thought, ‘I’ll launch it over the kerb,’ and it was just far too ambitious,” he added.

“And you think, why do that when you’ve got so much responsibility? That’s the sort of thing that you need to weed out of your portfolio as a top driver. You can’t be doing rash moves like that. 

READ: Leclerc issues warning to Formula 1: ‘It would be wrong’

“You look at Sergio. Sergio’s a safe pair of hands. He’s quick, and he’s a safe pair of hands. He hardly ever does anything crazy. He’s really good.”

Leclerc’s crash compounded a horrible day for the Scuderia after Carlos Sainz was taken out by Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap, and the championship leader has promised that he “won’t do it again.”