By making a mistake in the very last corner at Suzuka, did Charles Leclerc crack under the pressure due to the many errors made by Scuderia Ferrari this season? This is the question that Jacques Villeneuve asks himself.
The Monegasque won two of the first three Grands Prix of the season and then appeared as a candidate for the title. But quickly, Ferrari made several errors of strategy and experienced reliability problems, which made him lose several races and prevented him from keeping up with the hellish pace of Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
Leclerc himself was guilty of driving errors this year: at Imola where he lost the podium, in France he left the track when he was in the lead, and of course last weekend at Suzuka, where he cut the last chicane and received a five-second penalty.
But these mistakes by the Monegasque are perhaps due to « blunders » of the Scuderia as Villeneuve advance.
« Max Verstappen obviously deserved to win the championship, » declared the 1997 world champion.
« With the exception of the first three races, Red Bull was pretty much the perfect team. Ferrari fell apart on their side, made mistakes far too often, and that put extra pressure on Charles. »
« He too started to make mistakes and the question will always be the same: would this have happened without the gaffes of the team? »
« His mistake while leading at Paul Ricard was crucial for the championship. And in Japan, it happened again in the very last corner. »
« Of course Verstappen would have won the title anyway, but Red Bull got the perfect ending this way. They won in Honda country as their ties seem to be getting closer again. »
« Red Bull were formidable and improved a lot. It may have looked easy but don’t get me wrong: I think the biggest difference is that the RB18 damages the tires much less than the Ferrari. «