Leclerc: Verstappen has shown he is ready

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Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in Monaco. Monaco May 2021

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco May 2021

Charles Leclerc says Max Verstappen has proved he is “ready to win” – and wishes he was at the front fighting with the Dutchman.

Verstappen is engaged in his first title fight in F1 this season and is currently winning it, leading Lewis Hamilton by five points.

Leclerc, meanwhile, despite securing two pole positions, is spending his second consecutive season more often than not stuck in the midfield battle as Ferrari try to claw their way back to the front of the grid.

The Monegasque would like to see a young driver become World Champion and thinks Verstappen is ready, but cannot help but wish he was in contention himself – saying he misses being at the business end of things.

“I miss racing at the front,” he told Sky Italia.

“I wish I was up there with Verstappen. He has shown he’s ready to win and is leading the championship. It would be great to see a youngster win the World Championship.

“But I am focused on myself. I want to win, so I don’t really pay attention to others.”

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Leclerc is all but certain to be a Ferrari driver for a long time yet, with his current contract lasting until the end of the 2024 campaign.

Despite the fact the Italian team are rarely competing for podiums, let alone wins and championships, at the moment though he is perfectly happy where is.

What’s more, he is confident that with their mindset they will return to winning ways eventually.

“I’ve always viewed Ferrari as my dream even if we aren’t at the level of the other teams in terms of winning,” he added.

“The only thing that makes me dream is winning. We are fighting for positions that don’t give us a lot to dream about, but we are confident for the future.

“The team have the right motivation and this will be needed when we are fighting for the championship.”

Ferrari’s current status as a midfield team rather than a front-runner is perhaps best reflected by them pushing for reverse grid races to be introduced to the sport.