Austrian F1 GP: Charles Leclerc is untouchable | Formula 1 | sports

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, on Friday in Austria.Leonard Fugger (Reuters)

Charles Locklear is eviction complete. His evident ability as a driver is paired with a calm personality and an image that blends purity and sensitivity, with the essential touch of bad mood settling on the Formula 1 World Championship grid, through which many pass without pain or glory, almost as fast as the cars they drive. Despite all these qualities, it is not lost on anyone that Monaco is going through a difficult period on a professional level, a phase that has continued since last year.

Ferrari then squared its best car in over a decade, the fastest prototype at the start of the cycle, but it wasn’t enough to counteract the strategic blunders that occurred at key moments of the season. This lack of punch gave wings to Red Bull and Max Verstappen, who ended up winning. With three wins, Leclerc, who should have led Scuderia, was unable to withstand the attraction of the Dutchman, a circumstance that expected a new revolution in the structure of Maranello, which explains the misjudgment in which he was involved. Executives in Il Cavallino They killed Mattia Binotto, the director who, due to his artistic profile, was key in the F1-75 concept that has collected four victories in 2022; One from Sainz (UK) and three from Leclerc (Bahrain, Australia and Austria).

at the end of this week , the ring It was installed at the Red Bull Ring, precisely where Leclerc climbed the highest step of the podium for the last time. There, the Ferrari man pierced the seemingly impenetrable armor of Verstappen, who even surpassed him three times in the race, always on the right track. The Italian team’s trip through Spielberg would have been much calmer if Sainz’s car hadn’t caught fire after three-quarters of the test. This time, the panorama is completely different for the red car marque and also for Leclerc, at least if we look at its numbers, although that does not seem like a sufficient argument for Ferrari to question it.

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At the gates of the ninth stop on the calendar, Sainz is fifth in the general table with 68 points, 14 points behind his partner, who is in seventh place despite being the only one of the two who has risen to the general standings. stairs (the third was in Baku). In the first three races (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia) he could only score six points after crashing out at the start and suffering an off-track run in Melbourne left him stuck on the record. The two consecutive incidents in Miami exacerbated the crisis that gained more votes in Monaco, due to a misunderstanding with his team that led to them being penalized for blocking Lando Norris. The following weekend, at Montmelo, confusion reached its limits after Leclerc could not explain how he could have been eliminated in the first qualifying round (Q1). Despite all of the above, Leclerc from Austria admits that he has already started talking with Ferrari about extending his contract, which expires at the end of 2024.

Very strange

“Little by little we started talking about it, half jokingly, half seriously,” the 2016 GP3 champion, 2017 Formula 2 champion, who made his World Cup debut in 2018 with Sauber, before giving a triple somersault, backtracked to Ferrari , in 2019. If in the offices of the Italian team they are eager to close the continuity of the current world runner-up, this rush does not seem the same as ruling the other side of the workshop, as Sainz has set himself until the end of the year to sign his new agreement, until a year 2025.

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In his sixth year in F1, and of a supposed pedigree, Leclerc is quite an outsider, something that does not escape the scrutiny of those who can speak without compromise. As he put it, these errors should be interpreted as something “normal”, because in this he is “only focused on finding the limits”. For former world champion (2009) turned commentator Jenson Button, that’s the crux of the matter. “He’s as fast as the rest, probably the fastest of all in terms of sheer speed. His problem is he doesn’t realize where the limit is,” says the Briton.

This Sunday (3:00pm, Dazn), Leclerc has a golden opportunity to clear himself, as he will start row two, from row one, next to Verstappen, who won sixth. column From the twenty-sixth session of his service sheet, a number equal to Mika Häkkinen, a twice-time champion like himself. Sainz will start third and Fernando Alonso seventh.

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