Villeneuve describes ‘the big difference’ between Leclerc and Verstappen


The French Grand Prix showed the “big difference” between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen. This is what Jacques Villeneuve thinks, while the Italian press does not show great confidence after the error of the Ferrari driver.

“No one is perfect, but the title always goes to whoever makes the fewest mistakes” wrote the Corriere dello Sport. “Leclerc’s insecurity is also becoming a problem for the whole team. Verstappen has a huge advantage now and is confidently heading for his second title.”

La Gazzetta dello Sport agrees: “To become a champion, you can’t make these mistakes. Verstappen has learned from his mistakes in the past and has become a flawless driver over time. Now Leclerc is on that path.”

According to Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto, Leclerc’s crash leading the race on Sunday is already a thing of the past: “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t win the last ten races. I’m very positive thanks to the package we have.”

“We know that our basic concept is good and we have also been able to develop the car very well. The team has made very brave decisions since the winter, bringing innovations that actually work.”

What about the new F1-75 floor?

Indeed, Verstappen and Red Bull are worried about Ferrari’s performance at the Hungaroring, but Binotto is waiting to see what will happen: “We have introduced a new floor that is supposed to improve performance and eliminate bouncing. It was difficult to test it until now because the Paul Ricard has quite smooth asphalt.”

According to Dutch Grand Prix director Jan Lammers, the problem is not only Leclerc, but also the Ferrari organisation: “There is some truth in Binotto’s statement that they can win the next ten races.”

“The only thing missing is the sense of responsibility at Ferrari. You can see that with Leclerc who is admirable, but it’s just a series of mistakes on Ferrari’s part. But Max is not playing only the underdog role in saying that Ferrari still has the strongest car.”

“A big point difference” difficult to reduce

From Villeneuve’s point of view, Leclerc’s admission of responsibility for the Paul Ricard accident is simply not enough: “I don’t really understand, because in Austria he resisted the pressure.”

“But that’s just the big difference between Leclerc and Verstappen. Those things just don’t happen with Max. If he’s beaten by Leclerc he usually ends up second and so that big point gap isn’t going to be easy to reduce.

“We now have a championship with basically equal cars, but one of them has a big lead. It’s the best example of how a championship is won and lost.”

Villeneuve has regrets for Sainz

The 1997 world champion is sorry to see that Carlos Sainz finished fifth starting 19th, but he could have finished on the podium: “Sainz was unlucky. First it went wrong on his stoppage, the penalty he received next should have been redeemed.”

“Sainz made a really brilliant overtake on Pérez and still looked like he had the speed to pull away. They then acted hesitantly on the pit wall at Ferrari, and it costs Sainz points.”

“It looked like he didn’t trust his team, but remember we only hear snippets of radio communication. Also the team has the data, they know the condition of the tyres. But if you bring him in, do it sooner. That way you give him time to catch up.”

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