Charles Leclerc: Ferrari driver vows not to change style after French Grand Prix crash

Charles Leclerc saw his World Championship deficit on Max Verstappen increase to 63 points after crashing out of the French GP; Watch the Hungarian GP live on Sky Sports this weekend, starting with first practice at 1pm on Friday

Last Updated: 29/07/22 6:12 AM

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Charles Leclerc says he ‘still has a long way to go’ but now ‘must move on’ after his French Grand Prix crash and try to win in Hungary

Charles Leclerc says he ‘still has a long way to go’ but now ‘must move on’ after his French Grand Prix crash and try to win in Hungary

Charles Leclerc has vowed to stick to his aggressive driving style after the disastrous mistake that saw him drop out of the lead at last weekend’s French Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s championship hopeful lined up in pole position at Paul Ricard and held off title rival Max Verstappen in the early stages, looking to have given himself a strong chance of victory at Le Castellet.

However, while trying to maintain his gap to Verstappen before the pits, Leclerc lost control at the rear and spun into the barrier, leaving the Dutchman to win comfortably and take 63 points in the drivers’ championship ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Leclerc immediately took responsibility for the “unforgivable error”, but team boss Mattia Binoto later dismissed suggestions that the 24-year-old was error-prone.

Asked if he would change his driving style after the accident, Leclerc said: “No, I think it gave me an advantage in most of the races this year.”

Leclerc dropped out of the lead at last weekend's French Grand Prix

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Leclerc dropped out of the lead at last weekend’s French Grand Prix

Leclerc dropped out of the lead at last weekend’s French Grand Prix

“At the beginning of the year I didn’t know how to handle the car well at some tracks like Miami, I had a lot of difficulty in the race, but overall I feel like I’m getting better and better with it, so it’s definitely something that I want to keep it for sure because it has many advantages.

“The downside is that it makes the car harder to drive, but I’m a racing driver and I need to be able to drive a car that’s a bit more pushy, which I do, but this time I pushed a bit more on that lap and I paid the price for this.”

The Paul Ricard incident was not the first time an unsettled driver has cost Leclerc points this season, with the Monegasque losing seven points at the Emilia Romagna GP in April after he lost control of his car while in second place.

Will Leclerc's retirement from management positions in Spain, Azerbaijan and France cost him the F1 title?

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Will Leclerc’s retirement from management positions in Spain, Azerbaijan and France cost him the F1 title?

Will Leclerc’s retirement from management positions in Spain, Azerbaijan and France cost him the F1 title?

Despite his challenges, which have included two retirements due to Ferrari engine failure, Leclerc has shown brilliant speed throughout the campaign and is confident of challenging for a fourth win of the season at the Hungaroring.

He added: “I will focus 100 percent for this race and try to do my best. I think the best possible reaction is to win this weekend and that’s exactly what I’m going to try to do.”

“I’m ready to win the World Cup”

Ferrari, the sport’s most famous and successful constructor, is in the midst of an uncharacteristically long championship drought, with their last titles coming when Kimi Raikkonen triumphed in 2007.

Leclerc was anointed by many as the driver to end that streak, but his mistake in France led to some debate as to whether he had reached the level needed to beat a rival of Verstappen’s quality.

Anthony Davidson analyzes Leclerc's crash at the French Grand Prix when the Ferrari driver dramatically went off the track on Sunday

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Anthony Davidson analyzes Leclerc’s crash at the French Grand Prix when the Ferrari driver dramatically went off the track on Sunday

Anthony Davidson analyzes Leclerc’s crash at the French Grand Prix when the Ferrari driver dramatically went off the track on Sunday

“I feel like I’m ready,” Leclerc said.

“If I look specifically at the first part of the season, I think it was my strongest season in Formula 1. I think especially in the races, I took another step up, which is good.

“Mistakes like last weekend show I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting there and I know my price. At times like last Sunday, everyone puts you down and it’s not easy, but that’s okay, it’s part of the job.

“Now I just have to focus on myself, grow from this and show everyone what I’m worth.”

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