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Formula 1

Leclerc: I wouldn’t deserve F1 title if my errors persist

by Scott Mitchell-Malm, Josh Suttill
2 min read

Charles Leclerc has taken full blame for crashing out of the lead of the French Grand Prix, saying further such errors would mean he would deserve to lose the Formula 1 title to chief rival Max Verstappen.

Leclerc was repelling consistent pressure from Verstappen in the opening stint of the Paul Ricard F1 race before the Red Bull driver pulled the trigger by making his opening pitstop first.

Leclerc was pushing hard on his worn medium tyres while Verstappen was on his fresh hards when Leclerc lost control of his Ferrari at the sweeping Turn 11 Beausset right-hander.

The error lodged Leclerc in the barriers and into a position that he couldn’t get his damaged Ferrari out of, eliminating him from the race and providing a comfortable path to victory for his chief championship rival Verstappen.

While Leclerc’s team radio message of “I cannot go on the throttle” initially hinted at a mechanical problem, Leclerc admitted after the race that it was purely his mistake.

“No, it wasn’t or at least I don’t know yet if it was,” Leclerc said when asked if it was a car issue. “But it didn’t look like it was. Just a mistake.

“I didn’t know that I had left my radio on [when he exclaimed a lengthy ‘no’], extremely frustrating.

“I feel like I’m performing at probably the highest level of my career since the beginning of the season but there’s no point performing at this high level if I then go on to make mistakes. 32 points, 25 today as it was likely we were going to win this race.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship French Grand Prix Race Day Paul Ricard, France

Leclerc’s reference to 32 points includes his mistake at Imola where he crashed while chasing down second place and finished in sixth place instead of third – losing him seven points.

“If at the end of the year we count back and it’s 32 points missing, then I know it’s coming from me and that I did not deserve to win the championship,” Leclerc added.

“For the second half of the season, I need to get on top of this if I want to be world champion.”

Leclerc says he’d grappled with a “tricky balance all weekend” and was struggling for consistency in the hot temperatures.

“I like to have oversteer but whenever there is this heat, it makes it very difficult to be consistent,” he said.

“I have not been very consistent and I paid the price of doing one big mistake during the race.”

Leclerc explained that he tried to remove his Ferrari from the barriers but his clutch wasn’t working, which he called a “shame” as there was only light damage to his car.

When asked how he’ll bounce back after the race, Leclerc said: “Think I’m going to close myself at home… I just want to stay at home.”

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