Ferrari boss throws Charles Leclerc under the bus with Max Verstappen remark

F1: Leclerc says Ferrari career has 'exceeded expectations'

Piero Ferrari, son of team founder Enzo, has suggested Charles Leclerc is not as good as Max Verstappen. The Ferrari chief stressed the Monegasque did not have the experience of the Dutchman at this stage of his career.

He admitted Leclerc could still develop into a better driver while Verstappen had already reached his “peak”. He told Autosprint: “Charles has the speed to be equal to Verstappen.

“But he has less experience, in terms of number of GPs. Leclerc can still grow, he will grow.” Leclerc was unable to sustain a title battle with Verstappen last season after a difficult year at the Scuderia.

The Italian marque’s reliability woes and strategy played a part in their downfall but Leclerc also made vital errors. The youngster dropped down the field after a late spin at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

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He also crashed out in France when put under pressure by Verstappen and Red Bull. Similar incidents have crept into his racecraft in 2023 after a qualifying mistake in Miami saw him crash out in Q3 and start in the midfield.

Ferrari stressed that Verstappen had already gone through his learning stage and was now the complete package almost 10- seasons into his career. He added: “He is incredibly fast. He was already driving in F1 when he didn’t even have a driver’s licence in his possession.

“I was there when he got his first victory in Barcelona. He made his mistakes after that, his accidents.

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“Now he is young and already has a lot of experience. He is a great driver who is now at the peak of his career.” Last year, David Coulthard said that Leclerc needed to cut out mistakes in order to challenge.

The TV pundit compared the two drivers with Verstappen also making errors when he first joined the grid. The 52-year-old explained: He’s still maturing in front of the public eye.

“He’s under the biggest pressure in Formula One, that’s representing Ferrari. It’s more than a racing company, it’s a country, it’s a worldwide Tifosi. Once he’s ironed out those little errors – and let’s remind ourselves Max Verstappen made errors like that in his early career – he will be the real deal.”

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