Charles Leclerc will want to forget the 2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, and quickly. But he must not leave her behind too quickly, because there is a thorny lesson that must first be digested well.
You could tell from his face on Sunday, and then the bag and ash comments later, that the man who carried Ferrari’s hopes of ending a Formula 1 title drought dating back to 2007 knew how much he had made a mistake coming out of third place at Imola.
Straightforward errors… there is nothing more aggravating, and the worst part is that you have no one to blame but yourself. It was definitely one of them.
Red Bull was untouchable this weekend as Max Verstappen scored a glorious ‘grand slam’ – pole, victory, fastest lap – and on that occasion a great victory also in the first sprint race of the season.
The defending champion had lost to Leclerc at the start on Saturday, to pass the Ferrari without too much stress, pouring a spoonful of added sugar into his increasingly tasty brew. Then on Sunday, he was in a separate class.
Leclerc was worried and depressed by Red Bull’s superiority, but maybe he should ignore that as well. It already looks like a season in which form will wobble from race to race, and Ferrari will likely bounce back.
But if Leclerc wants to be champion against a peer who has yet to peak, he needs to sort out the unforced errors, and now.
Instead of third, Leclerc finished sixth, having dropped to ninth to replace the damaged nose of his F1-75. That’s seven points lost in a race where Verstappen went from a 45-point deficit to a deficit of just 27. Painful.
Beyond the top two, plus Sergio Pérez completing Red Bull’s joy with a fine drive to complete a team one-two, there were big smiles for Lando Norris with a legacy but still deserved third place podium finish. Given where McLaren was about a month ago, the turnaround at Imola was pretty much stunning.
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This notice was published: 2022-04-25 09:26:57