Lewis Hamilton sends message to Charles Leclerc as Max Verstappen runs away with championship

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc retired from the lead for the third time this season at the 2022 French Grand Prix.

Sir Lewis Hamilton has sent a message of support to Charles Leclerc and Scuderia Ferrari following their French Grand Prix heartache, where Leclerc retired from the race lead yet again.

For the third-time this season, Leclerc saw 25-points snatched from him in agonising fashion; however, unlike before, it appears that this retirement was largely down to driver error.

The Monegasque driver span-off at Turn 11 in what looked like a driver error, before a throttle problem meant he couldn’t reverse out of the tyre barrier.

It means that Leclerc has lost 75 points through retirements this season, something that can’t happen in a title-winning campaign.

READ: Ex-F1 champion baffled by Charles Leclerc

It’s seen Max Verstappen extend his lead to 63-points, whilst Red Bull Racing now lead the Constructors’ Championship by 82-points.

Hamilton revealed how “gutted” he was for Leclerc, whose retirement meant the 37-year-old inherited second-place at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

The Mercedes driver who lost out on the title agonisingly in both 2016 and of course 2021, sent a message of support to Leclerc and Ferrari to “keep their heads down” after knowing what the pain could “feel like”

“It’s been great to see the pace of the Ferrari this year,” he told reporters.

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“I’m gutted for Charles, who’s being doing a great job, as has Carlos. It’s not easy though, having that pace and that performance and maintaining it.

“It’s a tough job and I feel for the whole team because I know what that can feel like. But they’re a great team, and they’ll continue to keep their heads down.

Verstappen appears to be in complete control of the championship; following on from his victory in France, it means the reigning World Champion could retire from the next two races and still lead the championship by at least 11-points.

READ: ‘It’s pointless’: Charles Leclerc lambasts himself as Mattia Binotto reveals cause of crash

Whilst Hamilton admitted that his 2021 rival has a “pretty huge” advantage, he recognised the fact that there is still a lot of time for things to “go wrong”.

“Yeah, massive gaps, obviously pretty huge so that’s pretty smooth sailing in that space [for Verstappen] generally,” added Hamilton.

“But a lot still can go wrong up ahead so I would just advise them just to continue to push.”