Ex-Ferrari driver Jean Alesi has confidently backed Charles Leclerc and the Scuderia to recover from his agonising crash at the 2022 French Grand Prix.
Leclerc was looking good to take his third win of the season but lost control and slammed into the wall at turn 11 to lose another potential victory, leaving his championship hopes looking thinner than ever.
“After so many suspicions about the quality of relations inside Ferrari, I saw at the end of the race a wonderful approach by Binotto and the entire Ferrari staff towards a mortified Leclerc,” Alesi said in his column for Corriere della Sera.
“Both he and Carlos drive a car, I repeat with more certainty, that is destined to become unbeatable not only in the short term but over the next few years.”
Alesi won one race for Ferrari but missed out on more in part due to poor reliability, which has also haunted Leclerc in the 2022 F1 season, and the Monegasque could’ve had seven wins this season were it not for team error.
Alesi rubbishes Vettel comparisons
Alesi added it’s not fair to compare Leclerc’s crash to that of Sebastian Vettel in the 2018 German Grand Prix.
In Ferrari‘s last serious championship fight, Vettel was leading from pole at Hockenheim as main rival Lewis Hamilton fought his way up from 14th on the grid. However, Vettel crashed under no pressure just 15 laps from the end and Hamilton took the win and a championship lead he never relinquished.
Some fans online were drawing comparisons between the two incidents, but Alesi said it that’s misleading.
“I don’t agree with those who compare Charles’ mistake with Vettel’s at Hockenheim in 2018,” Alesi said.
“I think that’s enough to grant a lot of extenuating circumstances to a mistake that can emerge when a driver is always running at 110 percent.
“It’s two different mistakes in different conditions. Seb had four world titles and a long career at the top behind him, unlike Leclerc who even compared to today’s Verstappen, should be assessed differently.”
Leclerc has little time to recover ahead of this week’s 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, but with just one race to go before the summer break he now sits 63 points behind Verstappen and in need of a big result.