Leclerc to take "quite a bit of risk" to outscore Verstappen

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc intends to "take quite a bit of risk" at the start of the season finale in Abu Dhabi in order to beat Max Verstappen to third place in the standings.

Leclerc to take "quite a bit of risk" to outscore Verstappen

Leclerc will line up third, one place behind Verstappen, on the grid on Sunday, and currently trails the Dutchman by 11 points in the standings.

He will need to finish in the top four and have Verstappen drop 12 points or more relative to him, as the Red Bull driver has three wins to Leclerc's two and will stay ahead in the standings in any scenario in which they finish level on points.

“I will take quite a bit of risk at the start,” Leclerc pledged. “I need to take some risk, I need to finish in front of Max for the championship.

“I will definitely give everything in the first few laps, I don’t have much to lose tomorrow.

“We are fighting Max for third in the championship, we are starting more or less side by side, so it should be an exciting race tomorrow.”

Qualifying mishap "a big shame"

As he looked to start his final flying lap in the last segment of Abu Dhabi qualifying, Leclerc crossed the line just after the chequered flag signalled the end of the session, the Monegasque having had to wait behind teammate Sebastian Vettel and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz.

He said that while he understood the circumstances he ultimately found himself in, Ferrari needed to assess what happened because it was “not like Seb was slowing down unnecessarily”, suggesting there had been a miscalculation.

“I have no idea [what happened], said Leclerc. “But it’s life, sometimes it happens. I don’t know if the situation was unlucky or we could have done anything better.

“We’ll analyse it and try to understand for it to not happen again.”

Leclerc added: “We are the only one not able to complete a lap, which is a big shame.

“Everyone slowed down in the last sector and we were in a situation where we couldn’t do much apart from starting the lap two tenths off Seb, which would have had the same result, I wouldn’t have improved.”

It has become common to see drivers holding back at the end of laps to ensure they have a gap to the car ahead.

Vettel, who will line up fourth, was also compromised by Sainz ahead and though he made it across the line in time he failed to improve on his final run.

“I had to limit the gap to the car in front, around four seconds which is probably even too close,” said Vettel.

“Tyres were cold anyway and I lost it already into the first corner. I lost the shot there. There were too many cars queueing.”

Leclerc said he did not want “to create a huge mess” by overtaking Vettel to save his own lap.

“I stayed behind, but I knew it would be tight,” said Leclerc. "I had the five-second margin call at the beginning of the lap [at the exit of Turn 3] and we were going way slower than the margin.

“I knew what time was left, I didn’t want to pass Seb because that would not be fair, but we need to analyse because these things cannot happen.”

shares
comments
Hamilton grateful for 'first Ferrari compliment in 13 years'
Previous article

Hamilton grateful for 'first Ferrari compliment in 13 years'

Next article

Renault pays tribute to "instrumental" Hulkenberg

Renault pays tribute to "instrumental" Hulkenberg
The five factors that won Sainz a British GP he’d twice lost Prime

The five factors that won Sainz a British GP he’d twice lost

Formula 1 has a newest race winner, in a grand prix the victor appeared to have lost twice, only to charge back to headline a sensational and dramatic British Grand Prix. From a massive start crash to a late sprint finish, here’s how five factors saw Carlos Sainz take his maiden grand prix win

Why there was no case to answer in Aston's latest F1 copycat saga Prime

Why there was no case to answer in Aston's latest F1 copycat saga

The appearance of a revised Aston Martin in Spain caused controversy but PAT SYMONDS explains why the FIA investigation found the Silverstone team had no case to answer

Formula 1
Jul 3, 2022
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Prime

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 2, 2022
Verstappen exclusive: Why F1's champion isn't fazed by Silverstone return Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1's champion isn't fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Prime

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue.

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone Prime

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone

OPINION: The British Grand Prix is a home event for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with their Mercedes team based just a few miles away too. But there’s another reason why the Silver Arrows squad is eager to arrive at Silverstone this weekend, which may help it fix its remaining problems with its 2022 Formula 1 challenger .

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022
Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory Prime

Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s Oleg Karpov on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow.

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc Prime

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career.

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022