Last season’s success with two wins and 71 points contrast painfully with Leclerc’s current struggles
Charles Leclerc’s 2023 F1 season has gotten off to a rocky start, with a collision cutting short his Australian Grand Prix participation on the first lap. With only a single seventh-place finish in three races, Leclerc describes it as his worst season yet.
Charles Leclerc described the beginning of his 2023 Formula 1 season as the “most terrible” one yet as his participation in the Australian Grand Prix was cut short on the first lap following an incident with Lance Stroll. Out of the three F1 races held so far this year, Leclerc has only managed to finish in seventh place during the Saudi Arabian GP. He was compelled to start from the 12th position due to a 10-place penalty as a result of replacing engine components after his Bahrain GP breakdown.
Leclerc had a surprisingly subpar performance during the qualifying round in Melbourne, earning only a seventh-place starting position. His race was cut short when he got entangled with Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin and ended up in the gravel. When asked by The F1Lead to describe his emotions, Leclerc expressed his frustration and disappointment, citing that it was the worst start to a season he had ever experienced, with him only having earned six to eight points, and he was unsure of the exact number.
Yes, in terms of his Ferrari career, Leclerc’s start to the 2023 season is the worst he has experienced. However, during his rookie season with Sauber in 2018, Leclerc did not earn any points in the first three races, but he managed to secure sixth place in round four in Azerbaijan, which was considered a breakthrough performance.
At the time, Leclerc was a rookie at a team that had finished last in the previous season’s standings, so expectations for him were not high.
Leclerc had surpassed his current total of six points by this stage in Ferrari’s troubled 2020 and 2021 seasons.
He earned 18 points in the first three races of 2020, albeit entirely through second place in a season-opener that was followed by two disastrous races for Ferrari. He earned 28 points at this stage in the following year. In his first Ferrari campaign in 2019, he scored 36 points and came close to winning the Bahrain Grand Prix after three races.
The contrast between this season and the last is particularly painful for Leclerc. In the previous season, he won two out of the three races and left Melbourne with 71 points, which was 34 points ahead of the nearest competitor and 46 points ahead of his title rival, Max Verstappen. Unfortunately, that was the peak of Leclerc’s 2022 season, and his championship bid began to falter soon after. However, this season provides hope for improvement, and things can only go up from here for Leclerc.
The stewards immediately declared the collision between Leclerc and Stroll a racing incident, and Leclerc himself concurred. According to Leclerc, he had no intention of overtaking at Turn 3, but Stroll had to brake earlier or slow down significantly while braking because Fernando Alonso had to do the same due to the cars in front of them.
Leclerc explained that he noticed a gap on the outside and attempted to take advantage of it. However, as Alonso slowed down even further towards the end of braking, Stroll found himself sandwiched between Alonso and Leclerc, resulting in the collision.
Leclerc emphasized that he was not placing blame on Stroll and regarded the incident as a typical racing occurrence. However, he expressed frustration because the outcome was that he was leaving with virtually no points.
Leclerc remains optimistic about the set-up changes made by Ferrari and their potential benefits for the upcoming races.
Despite his disappointment with the results, Leclerc remained optimistic about the race pace of his car. He believed that the set-up changes that Ferrari made in Melbourne would be beneficial, especially after witnessing his teammate Carlos Sainz’s remarkable charge from 11th position to fight for a podium finish following a pre-red flag pit stop. This performance suggests that the changes made by the team could be advantageous for Leclerc in the upcoming races.
Leclerc admitted that he was not thrilled about the nearly month-long break before the next race in Azerbaijan and would prefer to keep racing and work on solving Ferrari’s problems. However, he also acknowledged that he would use the break to the best of his ability to improve the car, especially with the aim of addressing the issues that had hampered his performance in the first few races of the season.
Charles Leclerc’s 2023 F1 season subpar performance in Melbourne GP Charles Leclerc’s 2023 F1 season subpar performance in Melbourne GP Charles Leclerc’s 2023 F1 season subpar performance in Melbourne GP Charles Leclerc’s 2023 F1 season subpar performance in Melbourne GP
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