“I’ll make sure I put myself in a position to be able to fight for my goal.” Charles Leclerc after a positive weekend in Brazil from the point of view of the standings – given that he had recovered a few points against Sergio Perez the fight for second place, with both drivers going into the final round of the season on equal points, 290 points – but negative under many other aspects, had previewed the final weekend in Abu Dhabi with the mission not to leave nothing to chance.
In Qualifying, the Monegasque driver did better than his Maranello team-mate Carlos Sainz, taking third position behind the two Red Bulls and in the race he kept an excellent pace opting for the one-stop strategy against the Spaniard’s two. Only on the occasion of returning to the track after the pit stop with Carlos Sainz threatening behind him with tires already in temperature did he ask by radio “let’s not fight, if possible”, a request that was granted showing that the Spanish driver is a team player, helping his team-mate secure second place in the Drivers’ standings, a mission accomplished by Charles Leclerc and Ferrari.
Precisely the strategic mistakes seen in the first half of the season represent the most difficult element for fans of the Maranello team to accept in a season that after two years has nonetheless recorded victories in four races.
Seeing Charles Leclerc ‘rowing’ with hard tires at Silverstone while Carlos Sainz with new soft tires flew towards victory in the British Grand Prix (the first in his career) was the moment that many fans did not agree with, ‘accustomed’ to have a first and a second driver in the team. This was not the case for most part of the 2022 Formula One championship and in 2023 the hierarchies will have to be clear from the start according to Italian journalist and F1 expert Leo Turrini:
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“Charles Leclerc in Abu Dhabi revealed his talent again” – Leo Turrini wrote for Il Resto del Carlino newspaper – “he was finally helped by the strategy adopted by the team. The symbolic silver medal will not send fans into a frenzy, I am perfectly aware of that. But it can and must be a starting point. As well as a drop point, let’s put it like this. Let me explain: Carlos Sainz is a good driver, he fits perfectly in Ferrari. Only, if in the next season after a few races Leclerc is again leader of the championship, well, there should be no doubts. The keys to the title must be entrusted to Charles. Because it’s up to him to beat Verstappen, who also triumphed in Abu Dhabi.” – Leo Turrini concluded.