Pundit criticises Charles Leclerc for error that ‘shouldn’t ever happen’

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc removing his helmet. Montreal, Canada. June 2023.

Charles Leclerc removing his helmet. Montreal, Canada. June 2023.

Stumbling to a lacklustre P7 in Hungary, Charles Leclerc worryingly stated he can’t identify the exact cause of Ferrari’s issues while Ralf Schumacher feels his pit lane speeding penalty is something that should “never” happen.

Putting in the laps as Formula 1 trailed a new qualifying format at the Hungaroring, the sport declaring hard tyres must be used for Q1, mediums for Q2 and softs for Q3, Leclerc qualified in sixth place while his team-mate Carlos Sainz was only P11.

It didn’t get a whole lot better in the race as the Monégasque driver didn’t have the pace to challenge for a podium finish with his race undone by a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Charles Leclerc: That makes it difficult, but it’s part of the game

Although he crossed the line in sixth place, Leclerc lost out to George Russell when the penalty was applied after the Mercedes driver managed to pass Sainz late in the grand prix which opened the door for him to close the gap to Leclerc to just under five seconds.

With Sainz crossing the line in eighth place to Leclerc’s seventh, Ferrari scored all of 10 points with Sainz falling from fifth to sixth in the standings while Leclerc stayed P7.

Asked what were the problems with the car in Hungary, Leclerc told Sky Germany: “I don’t know anymore. It changes too much from one weekend to the next. It’s impossible to predict anything else.”

He, however, accepts he didn’t help his own cause with his penalty.

“In the beginning I felt comfortable,” he said summing up his race. “I lost a lot of time in the second stint, and the slow pit stop made it even more difficult.

“Then of course there was the speeding penalty, so I was falling behind again.”

Sky Sports pundit Ralf Schumacher wasn’t impressed with Leclerc’s latest mistake and said: “With so much experience, that shouldn’t happen.

“Those are always the things that line up with him. Of course, when things go badly, things often go really badly – but that can never happen in the area where he drives there.”

Leclerc hit back at the criticism, saying people only ever notice when things go wrong.

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“Even if you as the driver in the car have the feeling that you’re doing well, nobody really notices,” said the 25-year-old. “But as soon as you’re bad, everyone sees it.

“That makes it difficult, but it’s part of the game.”

But accepting that Ferrari have “fallen behind” in recent weeks, he added: “So we have a lot of work to do and it’s now up to us to make as big a step as McLaren.”

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