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Friday, February 3, 2023

Ferrari is “El Pupas”: Leclerc’s mistake clears Verstappen’s path at French GP

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Ferrari has become the dolls. After an endless cycle in which the Maranello troops were fed up with swallowing industrial quantities of cinchona bark, the team projected the sharpest car in recent years for this course and declared itself a contender for the fight for the crown. Halfway through the championship, the thought of the title has become a virtual farce, given the 63 points separating Max Verstappen, leader of the standings, from Charles Leclerc, the top-ranked driver among Who Wear red. The cruelest thing for the team is not the difference itself, but the fact that most of this disadvantage is explained by their own mistakes or glitches, the main weakness of the F1-75. At Paul Ricard, Leclerc once again suffered a demolition while comfortably riding at the front of the peloton, which has already happened to him at Montmeló and Baku. Therefore, setting a goal of winning the championship is impossible, especially when Red Bull and Max Verstappen are on the other side.

The current champion takes no prisoners and can push their opponents over the edge to force them to make a mistake. At first, Leclerc’s screams and anger led him to believe that the cause of the accident was a defect in his prototype’s accelerator pedal, which would have got stuck en route through one of the fastest corners at the French circuit (the 11th lap). Leclerc, however, took all the blame upon himself as soon as he finished the test, a circumstance that suggests that after an impact the accelerator pedal did not return to its natural position when he tried to reverse, but it did not before. “It was a mistake, nothing special. It was a complicated weekend; I made a mistake where I shouldn’t have, so there’s no excuse. I was at a high level, but if I make these mistakes, I don’t deserve the title,” the Ferrari man summarized, very touched, in front of the journalists.

Ferrari mechanics in the pits during this Sunday’s French GP.ERIC GAILLARD (AFP)

Without the first of the fireballs from The Prancing HorseVerstappen had a clear path to add his seventh win of this 2022 without a ruffle, elevating his mattress at the top of the stats. In his 300th Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton finished second, the Brit’s best result so far this season, while George Russell, his neighbor in the Mercedes workshop, completed the podium with a good jump of quality from the Silver Arrows, together for the first time in the Drawer.

With Red Bull out of reach, the inertia the star follows is diametrically opposite to that of Ferrari, which doesn’t give a foot on the ball if we consider the crap the Italian constructor’s strategists are involved in, apart from the unreliability of yours Cars. The insanity of the leading theorists at Carlos Sainz, who has already spent several careers showing more clairvoyance than the thinking minds who were supposed to make things easier for him and, more recently, only complicate them, bordered on the grotesque.

In the best moment of his career, the Spaniard embroidered it again this Sunday, in which he had to start from the catacombs of the grid due to a penalty and finished fifth. As if that wasn’t enough, the Madrid native received a five-second penalty for leaving his position in the workshop on his first visit, without considering who was peeking out from behind. With a lot of headwind, Sainz gained 14 positions and made 19 overtakes on track and things could have ended even better if they hadn’t made him dizzy when he wasn’t playing, with a second stop at the wrong time that neither he nor he understood no one, and when the podium was within reach. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso was sixth.

“The team has a lot more data than I do to make that decision and in the car you’re probably a bit frustrated,” said Sainz. “We were going very fast, that’s the only way you can overtake a Mercedes and a Red Bull,” emphasized the son of the two-time World Rally Champion (1990 and 1992).

“Sometimes the engine fails; other, the pilot”

Leclerc intoned the “mea culpa” as soon as he stepped out of the car at Paul Ricard’s circuit, where he made it clear that if you make mistakes like his this Sunday, it’s not realistic to think about the title fight. Between his mistakes and the fragility of his car, the Monegasque has only added 54 points in the last five tests. In the same window, Max Verstappen, his theoretical direct rival, was able to collect twice as much as him (108). “Karl made a mistake. Sometimes the engine fails; others, the pilot,” explained Mattia Binotto, Director of Ferrari, at the end of the Grand Prix. “In a week we will be racing in Hungary and we have a great combination [coche y piloto]as Carlos clarified,” the executive explained.

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