Formula 1 championship leader Charles Leclerc has admonished himself for being “too greedy” in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, in which a late crash cost him a podium.
Leclerc was chasing after second-placed Sergio Perez following a late pitstop, having just cleared the McLaren of Lando Norris – but hit the Variante Alta kerb too hard and was sent into a spin, colliding with the barriers.
Leclerc has gone into the barriers at the chicane!
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 24, 2022
Though Leclerc could continue, front wing damage forced an extra pitstop and he had to fight through from ninth place to an eventual six – which he acknowledges is three places lower than he should have finished.
“I believe that the spin shouldn’t have happened today,” he told Sky F1. “I mean, P3 was the best I could do, we didn’t have the pace for much more and I was too greedy and I paid a price for it and lost seven potential points compared to my third place I was before.
“So it is a shame, it’s seven points that are valuable at the end of the championship for sure. This shouldn’t happen again.”
Leclerc, who now has a 27-point lead over reigning champion Max Verstappen in the standings, pointed out that Red Bull has now been quicker at Jeddah and Imola and Ferrari at Sakhir and Melbourne.
“It is very, very close and I think it would be that way for the rest of the season and that is why every small mistake [counts].
“This is a big mistake. But actually the consequence considering the mistake could have been much bigger. It’s only seven points today but it could cost more the next time so I need to be careful of that.”
Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz is 48 points down on the Monegasque, having ended a second successive grand prix in the gravel – this time due to contact with Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren on the opening lap.
“For some reason I think Daniel went into the kerb, I left him plenty of space, but I think he must’ve lost the front of the car, and bumped into me with the unlucky situation that I got stuck yet again in the gravel,” Sainz said of the Tamburello incident.
“So… I think really I couldn’t have done differently there.
“It’s very bad, I must say that it’s definitely a tough moment.
“Obviously we wanted to do a good race here in front of the fans, there was still 63 laps ahead, so to get bumped out of the race in Turn 2, it is bad…
“But you know there is always these tough moments in the life of a sportsman and it’s my time to go through that, and as long as I keep working hard I’m sure the good moments will come.”