Formula 1 expert Karun Chandhok has picked his 1-5 at mid-season, based on this year year’s top performers so far, with Scuderia Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz included in this raking:
4. Charles Leclerc
The uplift in Ferrari’s form this season has once again allowed Charles Leclerc to show off his prodigious talent. The pole position laps in Monaco and Baku were sensational as were the Saturday performances in Silverstone and Spain. Ferrari had a dreadful race with tyre wear in France and Charles was unlucky in Hungary but otherwise, he’s shown a level of consistency this season that indicates that he is ready to be a title contender as soon as Ferrari are. The only real blemish was the crash in qualifying in Monaco which obviously cost him the chance to fight for victory in his home Grand Prix. A class act outside the car, Ferrari have done well to lock him down for the long term before Mercedes or Red Bull came knocking.
5. Carlos Sainz
This was a really tough call to make, to be honest. You could make a case for Pierre Gasly or Esteban Ocon to be in this position but in the end I’m going to go with Sainz because I think the pressure of being a new Ferrari driver alongside an incumbent star like Leclerc is a very tough job and the Spaniard has adapted very quickly to life in Maranello. I don’t know why but things often seem to go wrong for Carlos in qualifying. Even going back to his McLaren days, you would get to the end of the season and be adding up a whole list of ‘should have scored’ points and this seems to be continuing with a plethora of races compromised by out-of-position grid places, either through bad luck or his own errors such as in Baku or Budapest.
On the whole though, 11 races in, his average deficit to Charles is only 0.117s which is seriously impressive if you consider Carlos has had to learn all about a new team and power unit.
Like in his McLaren years, when the bad luck stops and the results start to click, he will be a real asset to Ferrari which is why I constantly find myself saying that they have the best long-term driver line-up in F1.