Charles Leclerc couldn’t but admit that his Title chances are looking difficult after rival Max Verstappen won the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix, his fourth in a row this season.
Leclerc should have admitted that his Title chances are over, not difficult, but since it is mathematically possible, then he can be given a pass not to admit bitter truth.
The Monegasque wasn’t even going to make it on the podium as Mercedes with their pace and one-stop strategy put Ferrari out of contention, but the Virtual Safety Car, and the Safety Car towards the end of the race put him back to contention.
Ferrari responded correctly pitting Leclerc for Softs, while Mercedes kept Hamilton out, the Briton falling prey to Verstappen, George Russell, and then Leclerc.
Leclerc reflected on his race, and was quoted by Formula 1’s Official Website saying: “Red Bull is the faster car at the moment, especially in race pace.
“In qualifying, I think we are very close. Mercedes seemed to have gained a bit of performance in race pace too so it’s (the title) looking difficult,” he admitted.
“I think we are [disappointed] as a team,” Leclerc added. “On the soft, I think we were strong, because considering we had used tyres compared to Max is new tyres, we were relatively quick.
“But then on the medium for some reason it didn’t feel as good, and the hards neither. But the surprise is mostly Mercedes on the hard tyres, they were extremely quick today. Maybe we can learn something from it,” he mused.
Looking ahead to Ferrari’s home race in Monza next weekend, Leclerc said: “On paper, it is not our best track unfortunately, but I’m looking forward to going.
“The performance on paper will be a bit more difficult,” the five-time race winner warned.
Carlos Sainz: It was a mess
Carlos Sainz finished the race at Zandvoort eighth, after a late race five-second penalty for unsafe release in the pitlane, having previously escaped from a Yellow flag transgression.
Notably both incidents out him in the way of Alpine drivers Fernando Alonso (the pitlane) and Esteban Ocon who he was overtaking around the Yellow flag moment.
The Spaniard’s chances at the start of the race were shot down with a botched pit stop by Ferrari that put him out of contention, while his poor race pace cannot be exonerated as well.
“It was a mess, the whole race in trouble, first with the confusing pit stop that we had and the yellow flag in which I saved myself by very small margins, and then the unsafe release,” said Sainz.
“That wasn’t an unsafe release, I was launched into the pit lane correctly but the problem is that I had to brake to not take a McLaren guy out of his life,” the Spaniard said of the pitlane incident.
“Because I took avoiding action, they give you a penalty – I find this very frustrating and I’m going to speak with the FIA now because I don’t understand it,” he lamented.
The Ferrari driver admitted his race pace was not there on the day saying: “It’s race pace, no, where we’re missing?
“I’m not happy with how the car felt in the race, it was super tricky to drive, we were always fighting the rear a lot – a lot of overheating – and we need to find out why the car isn’t as strong in the race as it is in quali,” he concluded.