Mattia Binotto told Max Verstappen would’ve won 2022 title with Ferrari

Dutch driver Michael Bleekemolen thinks Max Verstappen would've been World Champion this season in a Ferrari.

Max Verstappen cruised to his second consecutive World Championship at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, as a late mistake by Charles Leclerc saw the Dutchman wrap up the 2022 title.

Leclerc was looking set to finish second and take the championship to the United States Grand Prix; however, whilst under pressure on the last lap, the Monegasque driver locked up at the Turn 16/17 chicane.

He was awarded a five-second time penalty for gaining an unfair advantage, which gave Sergio Pérez P2 and dropped Leclerc to P3.

Leclerc’s mistake sums up Ferrari’s season, where they’ve suffered from every gremlin possible.

READ: Martin Brundle says Lewis Hamilton never wants to talk

The Italians have had multiple reliability problems, strategic errors, and driver errors, as proven by Leclerc at Suzuka.

Ferrari’s incompetence made ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher believe that the Maranello-based team didn’t want to be champions.

“One gets the impression that they really want Red Bull to become World Champion,” said Schumacher.

Interestingly, Dutch driver Michael Bleekemolen thinks Verstappen would’ve won the championship this season even if he drove for the Italians, with the 25-year-old “making no mistakes”.

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“I remember people all saying he wasn’t going to be a World Champion when we were three races on the road,” Bleekemolen told GPFans.

“You see with so many grands prix it was still possible.

“He made it by making no mistakes. We hardly ever see him make a mistake anymore.

“I don’t even want to say he had the fastest car, but he had a good car.

“I think if Max had been in the Ferrari, he would have been World Champion too.”

2022 feels like a huge missed opportunity for Ferrari, who would’ve without a doubt had been in championship contention for considerably longer if it weren’t for their endless errors.

Whilst the reliability issues would’ve likely happened even with Verstappen at the wheel of the F1-75, Bleekemolen thinks Verstappen “influences a team” like Michael Schumacher was able to during his dominant period at the Scuderia.

“That,” he replied, “is of course an accumulation of things; but Max influences a team. People start to work well for him, people become more alert.

“That also happened with [Michael] Schumacher in the past. Max could have achieved that there just like he did.”

Leclerc doesn’t seem able to influence the Italians, with the 24-year-old having made three huge errors himself this season.

The Ferrari driver span out of third at Emilia Romagna, crashed out of the lead at Paul Ricard, and then cut the final few corners of the race at Suzuka.

Bleekemolen hails this as the difference between Leclerc and Verstappen, with the double World Champion able to deal with the pressure.

READ: Unseen footage: Max Verstappen and Red Bull are convinced he wasn’t champion at Suzuka

“Leclerc was regularly unable to handle the pressure,” he continued.

“He also galloped the last lap. It was not necessary and not convenient.”

“That,” he added, “is the difference [between the two]. I think Max had just kept him on track.”