‘The pressure is on Leclerc, not Verstappen or Hamilton in 2023’

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert believes there’s more inherent pressure on Charles Leclerc to deliver success because he drives for Ferrari rather than one of the other top teams.
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75 in qualifying parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75 in qualifying parc ferme. Formula 1…

Ferrari haven’t won a drivers’ or constructors’ title since 2008, with a series of near misses and failed title charges in the intervening period.

The Italian giant produced their best car since 2018 last year but poor reliability combined with operational errors meant that Max Verstappen ran away with the title.

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A season of failure meant that Mattia Binotto was effectively forced out of his job, with Ferrari putting their hopes in Frederic Vasseur.

With Ferrari expected to still be competitive in F1 2023, it’s likely Leclerc will have a good opportunity of becoming the team’s first champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

Herbert, who has recently left his role as pundit for British broadcaster Sky Sports F1, explains why he thinks Leclerc is under more pressure compared to his main rivals, Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

“There is pressure on Charles,” he told Total-Motorsport.com. “With the Tifosi, the Italian media, Ferrari itself.

“Just being a Ferrari driver brings pressure which I don’t think Max or Lewis have. Toto and Mercedes, Christian and Red Bull try to take that pressure off their drivers to allow them to breathe more easily. I think that’s where they have been able to deliver more consistently throughout the season."

The podium (L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1, second; Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing, race winner; Dr
The podium (L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1, second; Max…

Herbert also credited Verstappen and Hamilton for their contrasting approaches in the way they deal with their respective teams if something goes wrong.

“You have got to work with them [the drivers],” he added. “Max has been very outspoken when the team makes a mistake and that’s part of putting people a little bit on edge.

“When a driver starts to say that, it’s surprising how that does change people’s mentality. That’s actually a strength of Max. I think you get the same situation, maybe not as visible, with Lewis. It’s a much calmer, different way of doing it.

“But behind the scenes, I’m sure he will be putting the pressure on and that is where the whole synergy of a team has to come together.”

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