Charles Leclerc insists that Max Verstappen’s win at the Canadian Grand Prix has only motivated him, and has not diminished his hopes of becoming World Champion in 2022.
The Ferrari driver was the runaway leader early on in the season after winning two of the first three races. However, reliability problems have since seen the Monegasque slide down the order.
It was ultimately this that ruined his hopes of a victory in Montreal, due to the team making the decision to take a new power unit following his Baku engine blowout.
That meant Leclerc was forced to start the Grand Prix from the back row, from where he cut through the field to end the day a respectable fifth, while rival Verstappen claimed the race win.
“It motivates me, because I know the pace is in my car,” Leclerc told RacingNews365.com as he spoke to media in Montreal.
“I’m not worried, I’m just extremely motivated to finally have a clean weekend and show that we are here and that we are strong.”
Leclerc admits that reliability will be a key factor in the battle going forwards.
“Obviously, Red Bull also had a few problems. So definitely, reliability is going to be a big thing,” he added.
“But that’s what we need. Whenever we have more difficult weekends, like this weekend, just to go and take some good points. That’s what we did.”
Fifth was the best Leclerc could have done
Leclerc says Ferrari made life difficult for themselves when a pit-stop blunder saw him lose four positions and left him in a Drag Reduction System (DRS) train, unable to pass the cars ahead with ease.
The 24-year-old had found himself unable to pass Esteban Ocon during the early phases and, after making the move, he had to repeat the trick later in the race.
But, car by car, Leclerc climbed through to fifth and left Montreal having kept the gap between himself and Verstappen at 49 points, when it could have climbed as high as 60.
“Honestly, in the very first part of the race, there was no problem with traction, it was just everyone had the DRS so I couldn’t do anything,” he explained.
“And then in the middle of stint there, there was quite a big problem with traction, but that was only because Esteban had the new tyres and out of Turn 10, that’s where you need the tyres, he had much more grip than I did.
“And then obviously, we had a problem at a pit-stop, which made our life much more difficult because I got put back four cars and, again, into a DRS train.
“So considering all of this, P5 was the best [we could have done].”