Danica Patrick said that Charles Leclerc will be “feeling pretty defeated at this point” after yet another pole position failed to be converted into a race win.
It seems a long time since the Australian Grand Prix when Leclerc had won all but one of the opening three races and looked the most likely of the title contenders. The situation at the top of the table now looks remarkably different.
Max Verstappen is disappearing over the horizon and even Sergio Perez is now ahead of the Ferrari driver in the standings.
Perhaps what is worse for Leclerc is his run of poor form has been nothing to do with him. In Monaco, Ferrari botched his pit stop strategy so while he may have finished his home race for the first time, it was in P4 rather than in P1 that he had earned in qualifying.
Then in Baku, an engine failure sent him out when he looked like he may be able to challenge Verstappen for his first win since Melbourne.
Patrick, the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel car racing, has suggested that will be playing on Leclerc’s mind and that he will be “feeling pretty deflated” as a result.
“Especially when you’re leading – that’s like the worst situation that you can possibly have,” Patrick said on Sky Sports.
“Carlos went out early so Ferrari clearly has some issues. At the beginning of the season, Red Bull had a few glitches here and there but Ferrari has taken over with that.”
“I’m sure Charles is feeling pretty defeated at this point in time, to be leading in a couple of races and have technical issues take you out.
“There’s no room for any more than maybe one DNF for those things in Formula 1 – there’s just not enough races.
“You definitely got that feeling from him in the interviews, he’s very defeated, and I would be too because you feel the slipping away of the Championship, especially when you’re up against somebody like Max who’s just so aggressive and so strong.
“And he’s still so fast even with the issues at the beginning of the season.
“It’s gonna be tough to overcome this, and also Checo is right there in the Championship now too so it’s not just him and Max – it’s Checo too.”
The double DNF meant that Ferrari lost further ground to Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship with the Milton Keynes based outfit now 80 points clear at the top of the table.
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