Despite being 63 points behind Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc insists he’ll keep believing in his title chances until it is mathematically over.
Crashing out of the lead of the French Grand Prix, Leclerc recorded his third DNF while running P1 in this year’s championship.
Worse to come, all three times it is his title rival Verstappen who has gone onto take the win – Spain, Azerbaijan and now France.
It means the gap is up to 63 points with 10 races remaining this season, 260 points in total still in play for the grands prix and a further eight for Brazil’s sprint race.
But with seven points between first and second, Leclerc’s job is quite simple, at least on paper, win the remaining 10 races and it doesn’t matter where Verstappen finishes.
“I will believe in it until the very end,” he told the Daily Mail.
“If we win all the races and Max finishes second we will do it. I am relying on myself doing that.
“It is a very optimistic goal, but I don’t want to look into it any more negatively than that.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) July 29, 2022
The 24-year-old is seeking to become Ferrari’s first World Champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.
Fernando Alonso wasn’t able to do it, neither was Sebastian Vettel.
Asked if history is weighing on his shoulders, Leclerc replied: “No, really not. I don’t think about this.
“Even though Ferrari remains the Ferrari of 2007, the team is very different and we are in a different place.
“The last two years have been difficult and we have taken an incredible step this season to be fighting for wins.
“Obviously the goal remains to be World Champion, but it doesn’t add pressure that it has been so many years since we accomplished that.”
His team boss Mattia Binotto believes he can do it.
“Of course it wasn’t easy after Le Castellet, but Charles tried to clear his head at home for a few days,” said the Italian. “Now he’s back and wants to open a new white page here.
“Charles is in a good mood and fast, he can win here.”
Looking ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix
The Hungarian Grand Prix is the final race before Formula 1's summer break.