Charles Leclerc clinched his fourth pole position of the 2022 F1 season in Barcelona on Saturday and converted it into a top start on Sunday. He struggled against Max Verstappen for a while but after the Dutchman’s blunder – dropping to fourth – there seemed to be no problem for Ferrari’s Monegask. Even after the first pit stops, Leclerc still had a reassuring lead of more than ten seconds over pursuer George Russell, but his race ended abruptly on lap 27. An engine problem forced him to park his Ferrari F1-75 in the pits, but the exact cause is not yet known.
“No, I really don’t know any more than what happened. I didn’t get any hint before but suddenly it broke and I lost all power. That’s a shame,” said Leclerc after the race. Team boss Mattia Binotto reported to the news station after the race, and he was also unable to clarify the reason for the withdrawal at this point in time. “No, not yet. In any case, suddenly there was a power supply problem and a serious reliability problem. The unit will be back in Maranello on Monday morning and then we will disassemble it.”
Binotto and Leclerc see leadership despite DNF
With his resignation, Leclerc is no longer the leader of the World Cup. He had to give up this lead to Verstappen, who booked his third win in a row. The Red Bull driver has 110 points after six races, six more than Leclerc. Ferrari has also lost the lead in the title race among the constructors. Red Bull again took the full haul of 44 points with second place and fastest lap from Sergio Perez, while Ferrari is stuck on 12 points after fourth place from Carlos Sainz. So on paper, Ferrari had a dramatic weekend, but Binotto looks at events from a different angle.
“In the end we have to stay optimistic and see that it was a positive weekend overall. We brought upgrades, the car proved to be fast, we got a great pole yesterday and the race pace was good too. After a few races where we struggled with tire wear, we proved today that we’re quite fast,” says Binotto. “We started on the new tires, we have to remember that and maybe that was an advantage , but later on on the Mediums the feedback and feeling from the riders was very strong which is definitely positive.”
At Leclerc, too, there is currently no room to view events negatively. “In moments like these, I think there’s nothing I can do but look at the positive. There are plenty of those this weekend: qualifying speed, race pace and most importantly tire management. That was a weak spot in the previous races. I think we definitely found something this weekend that gives me confidence for the rest of the season. On the other hand, however, we will deal with this problem. We can’t afford that to happen too often during the season, so we need to find out why.”