Johnny Herbert said Charles Leclerc’s continued mistakes mean he is not in the same bracket as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton after a disappointing season.
Having finished P2 last season, Leclerc had to settle for P5 in 2023 with Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez all leapfrogging him in the standings.
It is the sign of another tough year for Leclerc who at 26 has not had the success at Ferrari he may have anticipated and Herbert believes there is a flaw that prevents him from being one of the sport’s very best.
Charles Leclerc’s mistakes costing him says Johnny Herbert
Leclerc has made a number of high-profile mistakes over his six-year career and started 2023 by scoring just six points in the first two races and then had four crashes over the course of the next three race weekends.
His faint flicker of a title hope was extinguished immediately and it is a trend that has happened a number of times in his F1 career to date. It is this susceptibility to mistakes that makes Herbert believe he is not amongst the best on the grid,
“If I was to be critical, the only thing that I suppose we’ve all seen are those mistakes,” he exclusively told PlanetF1.com. “And those mistakes is something you don’t see from Max, you don’t really see that from Lewis.
“There have been a couple maybe in the last couple of years but I think overall, when he was winning the championships, they did not happen.”
It is not just this current crop who Herbert said never make mistakes but that all great World Champions were near faultless in their consistency,
“That’s the strength of the guys who become World Champions, you go all the way back to Senna and Prost and Lauda and people like that, they just have that ability to do it every single time without making the errors that we do see other drivers make,” the former Lotus driver said.
“And those drivers who make those errors generally can never quite turn it around to then put themselves in a position to win a World Championship.
“But I think Charles showed at the end of the year that he’s moving in the right direction. Can he attack Max and Lewis? Absolutely he can and he’s proven it.
“The battles that they’ve had, wheel-to-wheel battles that he’s had with Max, they have a respect for each other, I think which is very, very important.
“But getting everything, the whole package together, that gives you the right feelings to be able to produce what you need to do when you’re in the cockpit.”