5 Seconds Add Another Nail in the Coffin of Charles Leclerc’s Championship Charge at Belgian GP

Published 08/28/2022, 11:50 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 27, 2022 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc before qualifying REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Charles Leclerc concluded the Belgian GP in the same fashion he started it, with a penalty. On a track where the Ferrari struggled, he found himself on the back foot from the get-go with a power unit penalty that saw him start P15 on the grid, amidst several other penalized drivers.

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After putting up a fight at Spa, the Monegasque found himself in P5 in the dying stage of the GP. He faced a 20-second gap to the car up ahead on the road and the podium was out of the equation. Thus, he boxed for fresh rubber to snatch away a crucial fastest lap point from his rival, Max Verstappen.

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This attempt for an additional point put him under threat from Fernando Alonso, who trailed car number 16 up to that mark in the race. When he was in the pit lane for new tires, Leclerc realized a threat from Alonso on his out-lap and gushed out of the box to maintain track position.

Even though he came out ahead of Alonso, he lost the position going up into the following corner. Nevertheless, with a tire and pace advantage, he overtook Alonso prior to the checkered flag dropping.

Following the race, the stewards noted the incident of car number 16 speeding in the pit lane. After reviewing the incident, Leclerc was penalized with a 5-second penalty that saw him drop behind Alonso in the final race result.

“The pit lane is not bad luck, it’s just my fault. It’s a mistake and that’s it.” Leclerc commented in his media interview following the race.

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Lastly, he even failed at securing the fastest lap as Verstappen walked away with 26 points from the weekend.

A tale of misery for Charles Leclerc

The woes kicked in the Ferrari garage on the day of Qualifying itself, as a mix-up in garage number 16 hindered the flying lap run for Charles Leclerc. On a lap where he was out, just to provide a slipstream to his teammate, it baffled him to see a new set of red tires on his F1-75.

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This hindered his out-lap and cost him a spot ahead of Verstappen in Qualifying. However, it was not all lost for Leclerc as he still had a chance in the race, being just one grid spot behind car number 1. But the Red Bull was in a league of their own and ended up grabbing a 1-2 finish.

Moreover, earlier this season, at the French GP, Leclerc crashed out from the lead of the race which cost him a victory that weekend. In the aftermath of his crash, the Ferrari ace claimed, “If we lose the championship by 32 points at the end of the season I will know where they are coming from”

With the result of the Belgium GP, where the penalty demoted him from a P5 finish to P6, translated into 8 points instead of 10. Thus, adding 2 more points lost in the championship which he remains ambitious to win this season.

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Do you think such small mistakes would be the reason he loses out on the 2022 F1 championship?

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Anish Arora

193 articles

Anish Arora is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. It is the competitive nature of the sport that not only made him an adherent follower of F1, but also inspired him to start his journey as an author for the most prestigious racing series in the world. Anish initially started writing for Formula 1 during his undergrad and now is a huge fan of the 'Silver Arrows'.

Edited By: Ranvijay Singh

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