Leclerc expects poor race will be a “one-off” after finishing a minute behind

2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc is confident the problems behind his poor Mexican Grand Prix will not recur in the final races of 2022.

The Ferrari driver finished sixth, the last driver on the lead lap, 68 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen yesterday. He grappled with an ill-handling car and erratic power delivery in qualifying, problems which were only partially addressed in the race.

“On my side, we had a few problems in qualifying, I think we could have been closer,” Leclerc explained. “But in the race, the DRS problem was fixed, we changed the rear wing. And then about the engine, we still had some problems.

“But it definitely doesn’t explain the gap that we are seeing now. So we need to work on it and try to make in order that whenever we have our bad days that they are not as bad as this one.”

Both drivers reported the car’s performance seemed to suffer more from the high altitude and thin air of the Mexico City track than their rivals. Other problems that were specific to Leclerc’s car “should be a one-off just for here,” he said. “So hopefully for the next race I’ll be back with everything normal.”

Leclerc admitted the grand prix proved even tougher for Ferrari than he expected. “Coming into the race, as much as I am optimistic every time I’m going into a race, today I knew it was going to be difficult,” he said. “I did not expect it to be that difficult though and going to be that much away from the guys in front.”

But he sees good reason to expect better things from the season-ending races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

“I hope it won’t be worse than this because I don’t expect any race worse than this,” he said. “It’s probably one of the worst races together with Spa, this one.

“But I honestly believe that it is a one-off. For the future we need to understand what do we can do in those conditions for us to be better.”

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2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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12 comments on “Leclerc expects poor race will be a “one-off” after finishing a minute behind”

  1. “And I think what’s more important is seeing that once again we had a good package, there is no reason why not to win 10 races from now to the end.”

  2. The sad fact is that RBR mastered the new ground force designs far better than anyone else (not surprising given Newey’s history with ground effects) and they’ve managed to bring a PU that has been top notch as well.

    I expect their 2023 iteration to be even better, so Leclerc had better get used to being a minute behind. The amount of catching up that Ferrari and the rest of the teams have to do is huge and I expect it’ll take several seasons before we see some major competition at the front.

    1. I hope that is not the case:
      At least the advantage isn’t locked in like the PU advantage Mercedes had, and RB isn’t hiding the advantage to keep it that way. So, I think the teams this year have learned what they missed this year, and have seen what can be done better, and they’re starting from a clean-ish sheet again. I expect Mercedes to be there or there about next year. This year, Ferrari was faster than RB at the start, but it seems they ran out of steam at about halfway the year again.

      1. I don’t even think Ferrari was faster at the start, they were better prepared.

        By round 2 RB18 was already setting fastest times and winning races.

        Once things fell in place taking the wins from Ferrari became the usual business for Red Bull even before the summer break. Ferrari had nothing to counter RB’s superior straight line speed and better tyre management.

        1. 100% agree with @Edvaldo, Ferrari was better prepared but the difference to RBR just grew into the season, that add to horrible team decisions and some driver errors…realisticly they never stood a chance

    2. I hope this is where the reduced wind tunnel and CFD time helps next year. It supposed be very hard for a team to stay on top.

    3. It seems doubtful that any one person’s previous experience has much effect. The floor of the cars has always been very important to the overall downforce levels, the engineers just had less options to exploit that. And on most tracks, the Ferrari has been the fastest over one lap. In the races, tyre management and engine use/harvesting energy becomes more important and it’s in the races that Red Bull has their biggest advantage. The Honda is a very good PU these days.

  3. Should be.

  4. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    31st October 2022, 14:43

    If Ferrari don’t get their act together then they’re going to lose second in the championship. Given where Mercedes and Ferrari started the season you have to question what’s gone wrong. It’s not like Mercedes are firing on all cylinders strategy wise either.

  5. With all due respect, it’s not a one-off if you then name other races where this has also happened.

    Furthermore, I’m not even sure when Ferrari last seemed to have a genuine chance to win. I get that Leclerc wants to stay positive, but Ferrari is very much looking the 3rd best team at this stage of the season.

  6. It’s a good thing Red Bull wrapped it all up with races to spare.
    It would be terrible for Ferrari to show up for such a bad performance so late in a championship clash.

    Made me remember Mercedes in ’18, similarly terrible but enough for Hamilton to claim the WDC still.

  7. Just throwing this out there. Is it worth it for Ferrari to tank the rest of the season? They seemed to have gone backwards since RB locked up the WDC and constructor’s championship. Does the amount of development time given to 3rd place offset not placing 2nd? Just asking.

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