Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has endured a very challenging period in recent weeks, especially after his flying start to the 2022 season.
From being billed as an early favourite to win his maiden F1 title, Leclerc now finds himself in the “worst situation”. This comes after he met with yet another power unit failure, much like the one he suffered during the Spanish Grand Prix.
This makes it two power unit failures for Leclerc in the last three races alone. As a result, he has seen Red Bull’s Max Verstappen create a valuable lead over him in the drivers’ standings.
Coincidentally, in the two races where Leclerc suffered a power failure, Verstappen gobbled up the advantage and went on to win the event on both occasions.
It is worth remembering that Leclerc was 50 points ahead at one point of time this season, but now finds himself in third place and 34 points behind leader Verstappen after 8 races.
The Australian Grand Prix was the last time Leclerc tasted victory this season and in all honesty, that seems like ages ago.
What will be even more frustrating for Leclerc is the fact that he was not responsible in any way for the power unit failures.
It was solely due to his Ferrari engine and also some dubious strategies employed by the team during the Monaco GP which forced Leclerc to settle for a 4th place finish despite looking like he would win his home race.
Ferrari’s problems are certainly mounting in recent weeks. Not only has Leclerc lost valuable ground to Verstappen in the drivers’ standings, their other driver Carlos Sainz was also forced to retire in Azerbaijan.
Red Bull notched a 1-2 finish and stretched its overall lead over Ferrari to 80 points.
Leclerc is feeling defeated: Patrick
Speaking to Sky Sports, former American racer Danica Patrick believes Leclerc has been left feeling ‘defeated’ in the aftermath of these events.
“Especially when you’re leading – that’s like the worst situation that you can possibly have,” Patrick said.
“Carlos went out early so Ferrari clearly has some issues. At the beginning of the season, Red Bull had a few glitches here and there but Ferrari has taken over with that.
“I’m sure Charles is feeling pretty defeated at this point in time, to be leading in a couple of races and have technical issues take you out.
“There’s no room for any more than maybe one DNF for those things in Formula 1 – there’s just not enough races.”
Patrick went on to justify her comments.
“You definitely got that feeling from him in the interviews, he’s very defeated, and I would be too because you feel the slipping away of the Championship, especially when you’re up against somebody like Max who’s just so aggressive and so strong,” she said.
“And he’s still so fast even with the issues at the beginning of the season.
“It’s gonna be tough to overcome this, and also Checo is right there in the Championship now too so it’s not just him and Max – it’s Checo too.”