While running in third place during Sunday’s race at Imola, Leclerc lost control of his Ferrari at the Variante Alta chicane with 10 laps to go, damaging his front wing in the process.

Leclerc limped back into the pit lane, dropping down to ninth before salvaging sixth and eighth crucial world championship points.

It does mean that Leclerc’s championship lead has been cut to 27 points after Max Verstappen’s dominant display going into next weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.

Speaking on Crash.net’s F1 podcast, Edwards said it was a costly mistake given he’s in a close title fight this season with Verstappen.

“The battle between Perez and Leclerc through the race was very interesting, Edwards said. “I was disappointed by the Leclerc mistake. You know we talked the other day about how he’s matured and he’s taken another step up. 

“Actually, this weekend we saw the bit of Leclerc we’ve seen before making these errors which was totally unnecessary at that point and particularly when you’re fighting for a world championship, you don’t want to do that. He was very lucky not to lose all the points and get that car back in to the finish. I hope he has really learnt from this one as for me that was daft.  He really didn’t need to do that.”

2016 European Le Mans champion and current F2/F3 commentator Alex Brundle believes Leclerc should have settled for third, suggesting that Lewis Hamilton would have handled the situation better.

“It was really a red mist mistake, wasn’t it? He just got caught up in the moment, he was chasing after Perez,” Brundle added. “That Ferrari has a pointy, little front-end on it, you could see that. 

“As soon as he came out of the pit lane I noticed exiting Tosa all of a sudden as soon as he put that soft tyre on, a short shift through the gears came into Leclerc’s driving as he tried to keep the rear under control and I think that mixed with the fact he just had this red mist of having to get up the field, having to make that pass on Perez, made him basically over-commit the car into the Variante Alta but that’s the moment when a driver like Lewis Hamilton, who’s having an absolutely terrible year so far but in that car might have just managed the situation slightly better.”

F1: Ferrari needs to cut out the mistakes

Ferrari is best placed to win its first drivers’ championship since 2007.

Since its last triumph, Ferrari has suffered several near-misses, particularly in 2017 and 2018 with Sebastian Vettel.

While Ferrari wasn’t able to take Lewis Hamilton to a title-decider in either season, at various stages during both years, Vettel led the standings and was the favourite to take his fifth title.

Edwards stressed the need for Ferrari to stop making errors, particularly Carlos Sainz, who has endured two torrid weekends.

“I think the big takeaway [from Imola] is let’s not have too many Ferrari errors,” Edwards explained. “We need some proper racing and we need to see Ferrari delivering what we know they can deliver and have delivered but we need to see a team combination and it hasn’t quite worked for Sainz and Leclerc to deliver the 1-2s. 

“The season started strongly for them but too many mistakes this last weekend. Let’s see if they can clarify that.”

Brundle added: “We need a performance from Ferrari but I think actually on the engineering side, Ferrari needs to deliver a race car. They've delivered a qualifying car. 

“They've got a car that is fast enough to compete at the front of the field but Red Bull can put a slippery machine out on track that actually is so tricky to overtake that you have to make the big lunges and the big moves, and if there’s one person I don’t want to make a big move on is Max Verstappen because he’s just plain not going to let me. 

“Ferrari needs a strategy, a think outside the box strategy. If it’s competing on tyre degradation which they don’t appear to do, competing in the high-speed corners, competing in the pit stops They’ve got to find a way to beat Red Bull over the race distance and make Red Bull react and that is, I think, what’s going to keep the momentum in this championship and keep it alive.”

Download and listen to Episode 7 now at the following links…





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