“If [Ferrari] lose the championship by 32 points by the end of the season, I will know where they are coming from… and it’s unacceptable.”

CHarles leclerc

Ferrari Continues to Drop the Ball

Charles Leclerc out-qualified Max Verstappen yet again last Saturday, and he was leading the French GP from pole position. On Lap 17, the Ferrari driver carried too much speed into the awkward late apex at Turn 11, which put extra stress on his rear tires. Due to the heat, track temperatures were over 50 degrees Celcius, and Leclerc was going for it. The Monegasque could not keep his F1-75 on track during the massive oversteer moment, and he spun out into the wall gently; Leclerc was unharmed physically.

Regarding emotional damage, look no further than the end of the video above. It is a gutwrenching scream that could come to define this 2022 season for Ferrari; longer and louder than in Monaco.

Harshly, Leclerc could not find reverse or engage the throttle and thus received another DNF. If he could return to the track, he would have lost time and places, but he could have still collected some points to limit the damage.

Leclerc is quickly falling out of contention, sixty-three points down in the championship, and he will need a reversal of fortune sooner rather than later. The French GP was a fantastic opportunity to claw some points back, with the pole position and the quicker car.

Verstappen Wants a “Proper Battle”

Seemingly unenthusiastic after winning the French GP, Verstappen expressed genuine disappointment about Leclerc’s crash.

I get the sense that he knows he will run away with this championship, which will be boring for him and the fans. The reigning world champion wants to win it on track against his childhood karting mate.

In Spielberg, at the Austrian GP, Leclerc overtook Verstappen and won the race. The two battled wheel to wheel for several laps before Leclerc completed the move. Verstappen finished P2 in Austria, but I think he prefers those races to ones where he cruises to the checkered flag.

Red Bull has the more reliable car so far this season, but Ferrari is faster, especially over one lap. That is why Leclerc has more pole positions than Verstappen.

Mercedes Were Scrappy, and It Paid Off

Seven-time F1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, overtook Sergio Perez into Turn One at the start to make up one position. His great jump of the line secured the podium from the start.

In the other Mercedes W13, George Russell also made up a position on Lando Norris; Fernando Alonso’s Alpine overtook the pair of them. Russell would have to pass Sergio Perez’s Red Bull in order to stand on the podium.

Contact at the Chicane

Towards the end of the Grand Prix, Russell knew that Perez was a viable target. Russell went for a move up the inside at Turn Eight, which the stewards deemed a racing incident, but allowed Perez to gain time. The British driver claimed it was his corner and was vocal about his opinion over the team radio. Perez simply claimed that the Mercedes hit him off track.

Checo took a very awkward line into this corner as he glanced in his mirrors in anticipation of a move from Russell, who was alongside on the inside line. Perez moved to the middle of the track to cover the move, so Russell had enough space to get alongside before the corner. Then, Perez left the space for Russell on the apex of Turn Eight but then clearly intended to bail out.

By this point, Russell had closed the door on the second apex of Turn Nine, and Perez was already down the run-off. Checo did appear to gain a lasting advantage. I suspect that Perez planned to bail out of that defense once he left too much space on the inside by not fully covering it off, which he could have chosen to do seconds before.

Did George Russell Break the Rules on VSC Restart?

In the following video, a fine upstanding member of the Youtube community pointed out that Russell jumped the gun. Watch carefully; look to the right side of the track, and there is a flashing sign. It was yellow when Russell overtook Perez, then green right before he passed it.

It is illegal to overtake under a yellow flag. Perez got caught out by what looked like a very clever move from Russell on the VSC restart. Drivers are not allowed to be alongside before the green flag like Verstappen used to do before they made a rule that prevented him from doing that. The broadcasters missed this one, I missed this one, and I’m curious how Russell gets to keep this scrappy podium.

Nevertheless, this was worth seeing for the first time.

Alpine Now Leads “The Rest”

Fernando Alonso made a fantastic start from P7 on the grid to P4, behind Hamilton. The two-time F1 World Champion did not concern himself too much with battles that were not important. He definitely got the French supporters on their feet with his solid performance for Alpine.

Esteban Ocon, at his home race, recovered from a five-second-time penalty to secure four points for the French team. He collided with Yuki Tsunoda’s Alpha Tauri at Turn Eight, which forced Tsunoda’s early retirement.

Alpine outperformed their closest rivals, Mclaren, and now lead by four points. Alonso proved once again that he is the man for that Alpine seat. They are in the fourth position in the Constructors’ championship, otherwise known as the “best of the rest.”

Hungarian GP

This weekend is the Hungarian GP. Esteban Ocon obtained his maiden win last season in Hungary. Perhaps he can come back to Budapest and run at the front. Rain is forecasted so that a few drivers could have a chance this weekend.

My name is Morgan Raynal, and I am a writer for Belly Up Racing and Belly Up Sports. You can find me on SubstackTwitter, and Instagram.

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