Leclerc’s chase for second wasn’t ‘necessary at all’

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc head down disappointed. Imola April 2022

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc head down and disappointed after his mistake. Imola April 2022

Ralf Schumacher feels Charles Leclerc should have accepted third place at Imola, as that is “key” to winning a World title.

Losing out to both Red Bull drivers off the line at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as well as Lando Norris, Leclerc first set about passing the McLaren before trying to chase down Sergio Perez.

After a processional race without DRS in the opening half, he tried to make it happen when he pitted for soft tyres with 13 laps remaining.

Although Red Bull responded by pitting Perez, as well as race leader Max Verstappen, Leclerc’s undercut closed the gap to the Mexican driver with the Ferrari man pushing hard to get within DRS.

Too hard it seemed.

Leclerc mounted the kerbs at the Variante Alta and went nose first into the barrier, the driver having to pit for a new nose cone and falling to ninth.

Schumacher feels his chase was unnecessary, he should have settled for third.

“The car was there, the opportunity was there, only both drivers made too many mistakes this weekend,” he told Sky Germany.

“Leclerc drives over the kerb and just wants too much – in a situation that isn’t necessary at all.

“He should have accepted taking third place. That’s also the key to a World Championship.”

With Verstappen taking the win ahead of Perez and Leclerc only recovering as high as P6, the Monégasque driver’s lead in the championship was whittled down to 27 points.

Schumacher says Ferrari need to analyse what went wrong on a weekend when Carlos Sainz failed to score although through no fault of his own, the Spaniard collected by Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap.

In a season in which Ferrari could fight for both championship titles, Schumacher says team boss Mattia Binotto must speak to his drivers about taking risks, and when not to.

“It will have to be discussed,” Schumacher said. “Now the opportunity is there and then everyone has to go along with it.

“It’s not just about driving a fast lap, it’s about them driving consistently without taking any risks. That just has to be discussed now.”

As for Nico Rosberg, the 2016 World Champion says Leclerc cannot afford to make mistakes like he did on Sunday.

“Something like that shouldn’t happen to him, especially if you’re fighting for a World Championship against Max Verstappen,” said the former Mercedes man.


“He shouldn’t turn away on his own, also because there was no pressure from behind. He actually only had pressure going forward because he wanted to overtake Perez.

“That must not happen, that was not good.”


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