‘That doesn’t help’: Ferrari fans fired warning about Charles Leclerc

Max Verstappen has taken six wins so far in 2022.

1997 Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve is not sure that Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc can beat Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to the championship this season.

Leclerc won two of the opening three rounds of the season in Bahrain and Australia as Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez both suffered reliability failures in the opener, before the Dutchman again had an issue in Melbourne.

The Austrian outfit clawed back the deficit in Imola when they brought upgrades along to the weekend, and Verstappen took a commanding victory in changing conditions.

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Ferrari suffered horrible fortunes that weekend as Sainz crashed in qualifying, compounding the spin that put him out of the Australian Grand Prix, before he was wiped out by Daniel Ricciardo off the start.

Leclerc would later spin into the wall while chasing Perez for second, leaving Red Bull to take their first one-two of the season.

The Monegasque, despite taking four pole in a row since then, has watched as Red Bull capitalised on a series of reliability failures and strategic errors on his team’s part, and he trails the reigning champion by 49 points in the title battle.

Verstappen has taken out five of those race wins and, asides from a scrape with the wall during practice in Miami and a spin in Barcelona – he still won both of those races – the 24-year-old has been near faultless in the opening nine rounds of 2022.

That is the reason he currently holds such dominance in the title battle in the eyes of Villeneuve.

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“He is always at 100 percent, nothing boring ever happens,” he told the F1 Nation Podcast.

“His performance status is always optimal and he doesn’t have a single weekend where he has less pace. He doesn’t make any mistakes either. 

“That’s why he is a difficult driver to beat.”

Sainz missed out on the race win last weekend in Canada despite piling the pressure on Verstappen late on, while Leclerc recovered to P5 having started 19th due to grid penalties.

However, with Perez crashing in qualifying, starting 13th and then exiting the race due to a gearbox problem, the Canadian feels the Scuderia could, and should, have extracted more from the race.

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“When you are in a Ferrari you just have to have a Red Bull in front of you,” explained Villeneuve. 

“Before the race, they received a grid penalty and in their mind fourth place was the maximum, even with Perez still in the race, they have not succeeded. 

“They got points, but it wasn’t enough.”

Leclerc’s spin in Imola has really been his only costly error this year, but Villeneuve still reckons the Monegasque is error prone.

“He’s super fast, but at the moment he keeps making mistakes that shouldn’t happen,” he stated.

“Let’s take the example of Imola, that doesn’t help. 

“We know he’s fast and aggressive, but is he a world champion? Is he like Max? How does he drive? Pressure? That’s something we need to find out.”

Ferrari also trail Red Bull by 76 points in the Constructors’ Championship but, with 13 rounds still to go this year, there is plenty of time for the pendulum to swing again, as it has done in the last six rounds.