Charles LeClerc is fighting with Sergio Perez for P2 in the drivers’ championship, yet it in years gone by there’s been little glory attached to the runner up slot in an F1 season. Of course the top three drivers’ are invited to the end of season FIA gala where their performances of the year are given the recognition of their peers.
Yet in sport there have been many comments on there reality of being second. Legendary Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankley stated, “If you are first you are first. If you are second, you are nothing.”
Second is the first of the losers
Ricky Bobby of Hollywood NASCAR fame claimed, “If you ain’t first, your last.” In a similar comedic vein Jerry Seinfeld observed:
“The Olympics is really my favourite sporting event, although I think I have a problem with that silver medal. I think, if I was an Olympic athlete, I would rather come in last than win the silver. If you think about it… if you win the gold, you feel good. If you win the bronze, you think: “Well, at least I got something.”
“But if you win that silver, it’s like: “Congratulations! You… almost won.” “Of all the losers, you came in first of that group.” “You’re the number one… loser.” “No one lost… ahead of you.”
LeClerc said Ferrari changed their mind
Yet LeClerc was pestering his team over the radio in Interlagos to ask Carlos Sainz to give up his podium P3 place and swap with LeClerc. The team refused his request.
Charles was clearly put out about this though answered his accusers after the race.
“I don’t normally ask these types of things,” he said. “But we had these discussions prior to the race, so that’s why I asked about it.
“For some reason we changed our mind on that.”
Binotto explained they were concerned about the charging Fernando Alonso and presumably LeClerc would be a buffer to protect the Spaniard from the attacking Alpine.
Hill says LeClerc needs more “courage”
LeClerc has come under fire from former F1 champion Damon Hill. Despite the Ferrari mess up with tyres during qualifying,
Hill believes, “I think you can see Charles is sort of criticising the team on the radio effectively by saying ‘nice one guys, thanks very much’, but he has to assume some responsibility as well.”
“Maybe they are not letting him do that, or he hasn’t got the courage to assume it for themselves.”
LeClerc was the only driver in Q3 to make his final run on the intermediates while his team mate and the other runners were all on dry weather tyres.
Verstappen takes control
Hill contrasts LeClerc’s approach with that of world champion Max Verstappen.
“Can you imagine Max Verstappen saying ‘oh, what are we doing?’
“His [Verstappen’s] personality is such that he commands attention and I think that’s part and parcel of being a leading driver in a team.”
LeClerc agrees Damon Hill is correct but only in certain situations but argues he had o visibility of the radar an the rain forecast during Q3 in Brazil.
LeClerc accepts criticism in part
“In some occasions yes [I need to take control] but [in qualifying], I had no idea of what was going on.
“If the team tells me it is raining outside, I don’t see outside or at least not in Turn 12 or whatever.
“In those situations, I cannot do much.”
With regard to the team’s error fitting him with wet tyres LeClerc believes, “To be honest, there is not much to go into. We made the wrong decision.
“The team told me it was raining and it wasn’t so we were on inters when it was still for slicks.
“Hopefully we won’t do this mistake again.”
Binotto clings on
The Italian media is reporting today that Ferrari are about to bin their tea principal MAattia Binotto who has presided over a number of chaotic tyre decisions this season.
The team has responded on twitter within the past hour denying such reports.
Scuderia Ferrari Statement:
In relation to speculation in certain media regarding Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto's position, Ferrari states that these rumours are totally without foundation.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) November 15, 2022
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"After all I've done for him, it's a bit disappointing to be honest"
Sergio Perez said he was 'really surprised' that Max Verstappen refused to let him past at the end of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix 👇 pic.twitter.com/d8zyvYf9B7
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) November 13, 2022