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Charles Leclerc “was at 110%” to finish second in Abu Dhabi

The Monagesque hopes that Ferrari can pick up the pace in 2023 and seriously be a threat to win the championship

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Charles Leclerc beat off Sergio Perez to finish second in the drivers’ standings with 308 points as Ferrari made no mistake.

Charles Leclerc crossed the line in P2 to finish second in the Drivers’ Championship (Image Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Official Twitter)

Following a season of ups and downs with Ferrari, Charles Leclerc managed to finish the season off in second. It was a tough battle to fight off a fast-paced Red Bull with fresh tyres, however, Leclerc did not let the pressure from Sergio Perez get to him in the closing stages of the race. The two drivers entered the Abu Dhabi race weekend levelled on 290 points. This came after Max had a miscommunication with the Red Bull pit wall and didn’t give Perez his place back in Brazil.

The Monagesque committed to a one-stop strategy and Ferrari achieved a clean pit stop. Perez meanwhile decided to perform two, hoping to catch Leclerc in the final lap. But it was all for nothing because he didn’t manage to enter the DRS range. Leclerc passed the chequered flag in P2 feeling satisfied with the final race.

Comments from Charles Leclerc

The Ferrari driver was focused and made sure not to make a single mistake in this race. He knew what was at stake if there was a single slip-up, but the team came together to deliver a good result. Leclerc said,

“I was [at] 110% from the first lap to the last lap. Honestly, we had the perfect race for us, there was not much more [we could do] today.”

He added, “I knew that the only possibility for us to beat Checo was with a different strategy and playing with tyre management, which we did really well today, and we managed to make the one stop work, so [I’m] really happy.”
What’s in store for 2023?

Ferrari started the season as championship favourites thanks to their one-two. However, things took a wrong turn. Reliability issues, engine failures, pit wall miscommunication, strategy mistakes and driver mishaps are all to blame. They were far from perfect but we must admit that they came a long way.

Considering how 2020 was their worst season in 40 years, 2021 proved to be a comeback with a strong new line-up. Carlos Sainz proved to be consistent and Charles Leclerc was eager to compete for the championship in 2022. Other than things going wrong, Red Bull and Max Verstappen were a dominant force too. As they say, there is always next year, and Leclerc hopes that it has good things in store.

Mattia Binotto also admitted that the team couldn’t move forward with further development. Budgeting issues caused them to limit their upgrades to minimise the risk of breaching the cost cap.

He said, “I really hope next year we can do a step forward in order to fight for the championship. But, considering where we were last year, it’s a really big step forward. I think we improved towards the end of the season in terms of strategy. We still need to work in terms of race pace because come Sunday, we seem to struggle a bit more, but we will push during the winter break in order to catch them a little bit.”

Featured Image Credit: Formula 1

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