Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

Hamilton: “Unlucky” Leclerc could have three wins already

2019 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton predicts there is “a lot more greatness to come” from Charles Leclerc after the Ferrari driver scored his first victory at Spa.

Leclerc had led more laps than any driver bar Hamilton before the summer break, but was yet to win a race following near-misses in Bahrain and Austria. He beat Hamilton by less than a second to win in Belgium yesterday.

Hamilton said Leclerc’s results “speak for themselves really” and praised his performances against team mate Sebastian Vettel.

“It’s not easy for any driver to jump into a top team, let alone Ferrari, against a four-time world champion in the sport [with]… God knows how much more experience. And then to continuous from race one, out-perform, out-qualify and out-drive a four-time world champion is not easy to do. So I think that speaks for itself.

“He’s been really unlucky in quite a few races this year. It could easily have been the third win today. So there’s a lot more greatness to come from him and I’m looking forward to seeing his growth and racing alongside him. It was fun today, trying to chase him. He was just a little bit too quick.”

The gap between the pair closed down quickly over the final laps of the race as Hamilton caught the Ferrari. He suspected he could have caught his rival sooner had he made his first pit stop earlier.

“I was obviously trying to keep up with him but he was very strong on the soft tyres. We just stayed out too long, I think, because by the time he came in and the next lap the gap was twice as big.

“So I was chasing that up and also I got stuck behind Seb. But ultimately he did a superb job, so even if we had different strategies it would have been hard to beat him today I think.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Hamilton: “Unlucky” Leclerc could have three wins already”

  1. With the current set of cars & drivers, I can only hope we continue to see more battles between Hamilton, Max and Leclerc. The future is also bright with a lot of young talent waiting in the midfield.

    I don’t care who wins, because it is us fans who ultimately win.

    1. I’d hope we have some others joining into that fray before too soon though @phylyp.

      1. @bascb – definitely agree. At present (i.e. current cars/regs), I can only forsee McLaren being able to make that leap forward. Let’s see if the 2021 regs closes the gap up.

    2. I’m a fan of Max, but something makes me believe that Albon is going to give him a run for his money.

  2. Clearly Lewis likes/rates Charles more than Max. As do many fans who think Charles is the more mature and clean driver compared to Max. We have seen what Max did in this race. Dive bombed for the first corner hoping it would stick. After a great first half of the season, Mad Max of 2017 was back at Spa.

    1. I think you are looking for things that aren’t there.

      Just read back to the last race where Hamilton and Verstappen fought at the front together and you see this is just Hamilton reacting to the man standing next to him on the top step of the podium (and his teammate who was instrumental in winning the race) yesterday. Nothing to do with Verstappen, who wasn’t there @amg44.

    2. @amg44 You are right. Save for sme one-eyed Dutch fans, I think most neutrals like and respect Charles more than they do Max. The reasons are obvious – Charles is just a more pleasant personality than Max, does not say negative stuff about other drivers, etc.

      1. Liking some driver or the other is not a competitive sport. Every driver with their own style and personality.
        Leclerc seems to be the classic old mold driver, mature beyond his years in his posture. Verstappen appears brash and over confident and outspoken. But there is a lot to admire in both of them. They are confident and competitive and neither lacking in character.

    3. People tend to see what they want and this looks to be an example of that.

      It’s not like Leclerc hasn’t made mistakes. These guys are driving on the limit and all people make mistakes even when they’re not on the limit.

      I think they’re both pretty good racing drivers. At the moment Max has more points in a generally worse car and he’s pretty special being in his 5th year at the age 21. So let’s find out who’s the more successful one in the future.

      1. Leclerc is in his second (full) season in F1 and is in a competitive car with a very experienced and decorated driver. You could argue that this isn’t too dissimilar to Hamilton and Alonso. Regarding Max, I can’t call him a “rookie” anymore, due to this my expectation is for him to “know better”. However, with historic rivalries i.e. Senna vs Prost, Hamilton vs Vettel, etc; LeClerc vs Verstappen sounds good to me.

        If Albon, Russell, Norris, Ocon join that party… things will only get better once the 2021 rules are in…

  3. So the streak for new F1 winner was broken yesterday.

    1. What streak? Verstappen won in 2016.

      1. In terms of number of days between two 1st time winners this was the longest streak. There was a discussion regarding this a couple of days back.

    2. also Max isn’t the only F1 driver under 30 with a win anymore. He was briefly after Bottas turned 30.

  4. out-perform, out-qualify and out-drive a four-time world champion is not easy to do

    Ouch, ouch, ouch.

  5. Victory was on the table for Mercedes at this race but it would have taken some iffy strategy calls. Not having Bottas and Hamilton battle for position early on would have saved Hamilton some time, not leaving Hamiltons pit stop so late and not having a slow pit stop was probably where the most time was lost, then leaving Bottas out like they did in Monza last year to hold up Ferrari would probably have done it.

    25 + 12 points for 1st and 4th vs 18 + 15 points for 2nd and 3rd. It would have been a shame for Bottas to lose a podium for the team victory and points haul, but that’s exactly what Ferrari did.

    1. @philipgb – Nice summary, didn’t consider that. Still was Ferrari’s best strategy decision of 2019 i think.

  6. Well without big 3 teams, many drivers would have 3 wins.

    But hey Charles is so fast and in good form he could have 2 more wins this year. He’s the most promising young talent next to Verstappen. Max also doesn’t have many wins, but both have many years ahead of them and already in good cars.

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