Max Verstappen’s manager makes big Charles Leclerc prediction

Max Verstappen claimed his second World Championship at the recent Japanese Grand Prix after Charles Leclerc got a penalty.

Following defeat in the 2022 World Championship, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari have already expressed their intent on switching their focus to 2023, where they know that the title is possible, if they can eradicate their mistakes.

2022 could’ve been Leclerc’s and Ferrari’s year; however, countless reliability problems, embarrassing strategic errors, and costly driver mistakes have left the Monegasque battling for second in the championship.

It was Leclerc’s mistake at the recent Japanese Grand Prix that handed Max Verstappen his second title with four races remaining, although, the Dutchman would’ve claimed the championship at some point anyway.

The 24-year-old cut across the Turn 16/17 chicane on the final lap of the race whilst under pressure from Sergio Pérez, resulting in a five-second time penalty which saw the Ferrari driver demoted from second to third.

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Leclerc has appeared somewhat unable to deal with pressure this season, with the driver having spun out of third at Emilia Romagna earlier in the season whilst pressurising Pérez for second.

His biggest error, though, was the French Grand Prix, where Leclerc crashed out of the race lead, handing Verstappen another easy victory.

Those mistakes alone cost Leclerc 33 points, and that’s without taking into account the Maranello-based outfit’s incompetence.

Leclerc suffered an engine failure at both the Spanish Grand Prix and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, whilst in the lead of both.

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When adding the points Leclerc would’ve claimed for winning those two races with the points he lost through errors, the Ferrari driver would be 83 points better off, with Ferrari’s strategic errors yet to be accounted for.

Ferrari arguably cost the number 16 driver victory at Monaco, Silverstone and the Hungaroring, where they made ridiculous strategic errors which benefitted Red Bull at two of the races.

When everything is added together, Leclerc should really be over 100 points better off, which would most likely put the Ferrari driver in the lead of the Drivers’ Championship.

It’s further proof that Leclerc does have what it takes to become a World Champion, something which Verstappen’s manager Raymond Vermeulen believes will happen in the “future”.

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“A lot of the mistakes that happened to both Ferrari drivers was because they seem to have quite a loose rear, that’s a little bit unpredictable,” Vermeulen told the F1 Nation podcast.

“And then obviously, if you’re already a little bit on the backfoot, you push that just extra couple of percent more, and you’re driving closer at the limit, then it’s obviously easy to make a mistake.

“It’s easy to finger point, but I think if he has the right package, Charles is definitely also a future Formula 1 World Champion, if he has the car that he requires to do [so.]”