There was a cry for help after his crash on the formation lap of the São Paulo Grand Prix: Charles Leclerc wondered aloud why he has had so much bad luck. The Monégasque was supposed to start from second place but lost control of his Ferrari due to a mechanical problem. The comments over team radio did not come out of the blue, as it was not his only unfortunate moment in 2023…
Bahrain (and Saudi Arabia) Grand Prix
New season, new opportunities. A year earlier, Leclerc looked set to compete for the world title, but the fast Ferrari ultimately couldn’t keep up with Max Verstappen’s even faster Red Bull. Leclerc starts the first race of 2023 from third place and stays in that spot for a long time. Fernando Alonso may be approaching in the amazingly fast Aston Martin, but the Monégasque seems to be securing precious points.
But on lap 41 the party is suddenly over. Leclerc suffers an electronic problem and has to park his car beside the track. Not a nice start to the season, especially because Ferrari again cannot keep up with Red Bull’s pace. For Leclerc, things get even more annoying two weeks later. The Control Electronics of the Ferrari is broken, resulting in an immediate grid penalty of ten places for the second Grand Prix…
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Australian Grand Prix
Leclerc still drives to seventh place in Saudi Arabia, picking up his first points of the season. The third race will take place in Melbourne, Australia, where Leclerc will have to start from the same spot. The 26-year-old driver works his way up to the front in the first corners, before getting into an Aston Martin sandwich. At that point, things go wrong again, as Leclerc receives a small, unfortunate tap from Lance Stroll and ends up in the gravel pit. The second retirement in three races…
Miami Grand Prix
In Miami, Leclerc himself goes wrong several times. It starts on Friday, as in the second free practice session the Ferrari is suddenly in the wall after his mistake, which gives his mechanics a lot of work. A day later, things go wrong again during his flying attempt in qualifying. He pushes hard to get a good starting position and crashes again. This only increases the frustration of the five-time Grand Prix winner.
Spanish Grand Prix
The Spanish Grand Prix turned into a dramatic weekend for Leclerc. In qualifying, his Ferrari was off the pace and he finished in 19th place. Afterwards, a problem comes to light, forcing the Italian team to adjust the set-up. Leclerc has to start from the pit lane and in the race gets no further than eleventh place, 74 seconds behind winner Verstappen.
Hungarian Grand Prix
At the Hungaroring, Leclerc crosses the line in sixth place. Not much to worry about you would say, but nothing could be further from the truth. Afterwards, the Monégasque receives a five-second penalty for speeding in the pits, costing him a place to George Russell. Plenty else went wrong during the race, too. Leclerc had no water, no radio ánd had to deal with a long pit stop of nine seconds. Another unlucky day for the Ferrari driver.
United States Grand Prix
In the United States, Leclerc and Ferrari again lost precious points, this time due to an unusual disqualification. The car’s skid block has worn off too much, causing the stewards to remove Leclerc from the results. It is bad luck, as Leclerc falls victim to a minute error of judgement by the team. Sixth place and eight points disappear like snow in the sun.
São Paulo Grand Prix
Unfortunately, the São Paulo GP is Leclerc’s most recent day of bad luck. Qualifying second behind Verstappen, the 26-year-old driver openly spoke of a chance to take the lead at the first corner. Leclerc would ultimately never arrive there due to a hydraulic problem. At turn six, the car gives up the ghost and Leclerc spins into the wall as the power steering suddenly disappeared. Hopefully, the Monégasque can finish the season in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi on a fine note….
View the video of the crash in Brazil below!