‘Leclerc is a powerful guy with a strong mind’

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc's Ferrari from behind, deep sidepods. Monaco May 2022

Johnny Herbert believes Charles Leclerc has the mental fortitude needed to put his Monaco disappointment behind him and refocus on the title race.

Although Leclerc’s run of Monaco DNFs ended at this year’s race, the Monégasque driver crossing the line in fourth place and less than three seconds behind the race winner, his hoodoo continued.

He was leading the grand prix having started from pole position only for Ferrari to butcher his strategy, Leclerc not only dropping out of the lead but falling off the podium.

Ferrari need to bounce back from Monaco woes

Ferrari's disappointment in Monaco should fuel them to get the most out of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez took the win ahead of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.

As such Leclerc’s gap to the reigning World Champion grew to nine points in the Drivers’ standings while Ferrari fell 36 points behind Red Bull.

“I hope they travel to Azerbaijan in a positive mood,” the Sky Sports analyst said as per Motorsport.com. “Last year Charles was on pole position and we know that their car has become a serious blow compared to last season.”

Charles Leclerc pits in his Ferrari garage to swap full wet tyres for intermediates. Monaco May 2022

But while the car is looking strong, the same cannot always be said of Ferrari who came in for some stick from pundits after their Monaco blunder.

Herbert has urged Leclerc to shrug off that disappointment, after all he “knows he has a strong car that can win races.”

“Ferrari didn’t have a very good tactical performance there [Monaco],” he continued.

“They took away from Charles the chance to win, but he is a powerful guy with a strong mind. That’s why he sometimes does very clever things.

“He’s the kind of person who can have a bad race, that gets stuck somewhere in the back of his mind, but then he carries on in a powerful way.”

Ferrari need to pull one back against Red Bull, the Milton Keynes squad on a four-race winning streak, with Herbert confident they can do it at this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Although last season Leclerc had the pace to take pole position, he did not have that same pace in the grand prix and it wasn’t long before he was off the podium having lost positions to championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen, as well as the other Red Bull of Perez.

Herbert says this weekend he will be in the fight.

“Maybe a bit of luck should fall his way,” he said. “If that happens he will be able to dominate races.

“I think the grand prix in Azerbaijan is the ideal place for Ferrari to win again. In the last two races it seemed to come his way but then he got hit with bad luck.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how strong they are going to come out, but I think they’ll get back on track.”