Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was on to a winner as he silently lead the Sunday of the French Grand Prix. Max Verstappen pitted behind the driver, allowing Leclerc to form such a lead, but it didn’t last too long as we watched Charles leave the track on Turn 11 of lap 18.
On tyres that were feeling the strain from the hot weather and battle with Verstappen, his car lost read traction and launched itself into oversteer. Leclerc tried to grab it, but the car was gone before it hit the barrier.
Trapped under the barrier, the car couldn’t reverse out, forcing a retirement from Leclerc. Max Verstappen continued to take the win for Red Bull, followed by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
Originally, we believed it was a mechanical issue that pushed the Ferrari off the track, specifically a throttle issue which he also experienced last race. But in a post-race interview, Leclerc has admitted it was his fault:
“No, it wasn’t [a mechanical issue], or at least I don’t know yet if it was,” he admitted to the press.
“But, no it doesn’t look like it was, it was just a mistake.”
“Obviously it’s 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 that high level if I am doing those mistakes.
“I think there are 32 points overall [I’ve lost with mistakes], 25 today I think it was likely we were going to win today because we were fast.
“And seven in Imola with my mistake, so at the end of the year we will count back, and if there are 32 points missing then I know it’s coming from me and I did not deserve the championship.
“But for the second half of the championship, I need to get on top of those things if I want to be a world champion.”
Leclerc also outlined the fact that “it’s been a very tricky balance all weekend”. Plus, the heat of the French Grand Prix “makes it difficult to be consistent” during the race.
“I will believe in it to the end and I will count it at the end, but right now it doesn’t look great,” the driver said in regards to a potential championship win.