Charles Leclerc has labelled his crash at the French Grand Prix as “unacceptable” as he lost more ground in the championship race.
The Ferrari driver had looked on course for a win after leading from pole position but ended the race in the wall after spinning off at turn 11.
A disappointed Leclerc took full responsibility for the crash after the race: “I am performing at the highest level of my career, but if I keep doing those mistakes it is pointless. I am giving away too many points. Seven in Imola; 25 here because we were probably the strongest car on track,” he said.
“So if we lose the championship by 32 points at the end of the year, I will know where they are coming from and it is unacceptable.”
The 2022 season had started off with so much promise after two wins from the opening three races saw Leclerc with a 46-point lead in the championship. They now leave the French Grand Prix with a deficit of 63 points to Max Verstappen in the standings.
It was the latest in a series of issues that have blighted Leclerc and the Ferrari team, but they have not all been down to driver error.
Leclerc was forced to retire from the lead of the race in Spain and Azerbaijan due to engine failure. Questionable team strategies at Monaco and Silverstone also cost Leclerc possible victory. The only other time this season that the Monegasque driver can take the blame was at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, where he spun out from third and dropped down to sixth.
Meanwhile, Verstappen in the Red Bull looks increasingly difficult to beat. Although he has had his share of reliability issues, there have been no mistakes made by him or the team. Their recent experience of battling for a championship could be working in their favour. It’s worth remembering that Ferrari haven’t won the F1 driver’s title since 2007.
Leclerc and Ferrari know there can be no more slip-ups, but the mountain they need to climb gets steeper with each costly mistake. With the Hungarian Grand Prix taking place this weekend, they won’t have long to dwell on this latest error.