At the beginning of the Formula 1 season, Max Verstappen lost valuable points due to reliability problems with the Honda engine. So much so that Charles Leclerc had taken a comfortable lead in the F1 World Championship. But the trend was reversed in the last few races, which saw the Ferrari driver suffer so many setbacks that Max Verstappen became the favourite to win. And the problems at Ferrari do not seem to be troubling the Dutchman who sends a strong message to Leclerc.
After a strong start, Charles Leclerc seemed to be the early favourite to win the world title. The Monegasque won two of the first three Grands Prix of the season while Max Verstappen suffered a series of mechanical problems, forcing him to retire in Australia and Bahrain. But since then, the dynamic has clearly been reversed. The Dutchman has won four of the last five GPs while Charles Leclerc has experienced his first major problems.
A driving error in Imola, an incredible strategic muddle in Monaco, and a retirement in Baku… As a result, the Monegasque didn’t reach the podium during the last three races. A terrible sequence of events which has resulted in Charles Leclerc being 36 points behind Max Verstappen and no longer even second in the standings as Sergio Pérez has come between the two. This is a huge turnaround for the reigning world champion who is not hiding his satisfaction.
Max Verstappen confirmed that Charles Leclerc’s retirement in Baku was a good thing for him.
“Yeah, of course, but we had our misfortune at the beginning of the year, so we knew we would have a bit of catching up to do. It seems like now it’s more or less evened out on the bad luck side. You have to score points every weekend if you really want to fight for the championship.
“Everyone knows that, everyone tries of course, but it’s not always that easy,” he says, recalling that at the start of the season he was the one with the reliability problem.
“I always say ‘shit happens’. It’s the race. You know, it happened to me, it happened to a lot of people in the past. Unfortunately, it happens to Charles.
“Yeah. If I was in the same situation, I would be disappointed too. I think it’s very normal. But yes, it’s about how you cope. You are always looking for ways to improve. That’s what we did at the beginning of the season too. You learn from it, you don’t like it, you’re angry, but we turned it around.
“You always have to be on your guard because something else can happen and you always have to prevent those problems from happening.”