Leclerc sends message to F1 grid after ending Ferrari nightmare

After being a spectator when it comes to the F1 World Championship over the last two years, is Charles Leclerc finally ready to lead Ferrari back to top?

-

You’d be hard pressed to think of a better way to end a two and a half year run without victory than what Charles Leclerc and Ferrari achieved at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Pole, fastest lap and, most importantly, the chequered flag. That’s how the man known as “Il Predestinato” (The Predestined One) led the Scuderia out of the wilderness and back to the top spot of the podium.

After crossing the line ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz to complete a famous 1-2 for Ferrari, the euphoria of the result was clear for all to hear as Team Principal Mattia Binotto spoke to Leclerc over the team radio on his cool down lap.

“We had to fight Charles, and you fought harder than everyone,” said Binotto. “You really are a champion.”

It’s a sure sign that Ferrari still have complete faith in the now three-time race winner. With all that said, you can understand why some may have forgotten just how good Leclerc is given how the past two years have gone at Maranello.

Ferrari slump

Ferrari slumped to a sixth-place finish in the Constructors’ Championship in 2020, their worst result since 1980, with Leclerc forced to watch the likes of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton battle it out at the front with little chance of being a participant.

No victories, three combined podiums and two pole positions over the course of the last two seasons made it easy to forget about the promise shown by the Monte Carlo native in 2018 and 2019.

That debut campaign for Sauber saw Leclerc announce himself to the F1 world, thoroughly outclassing teammate Marcus Ericsson to the tune of 10 points finish to six, while also out-qualifying the Swede at 17 of the 21 races.

The result was enough for the Scuderia to call up the Ferrari Academy Driver the following season, and he wasted little time in rewarding them for their faith.

A maiden win in Belgium came after fending off seven-time World Champions Lewis Hamilton, though the result was perhaps overshadowed just a week later.

Another superb performance, this time in front of the Tifosi at Monza, gave Ferrari their first win at home since the 2010 edition of the race.

Unfortunately for Leclerc, and Ferrari, those performances didn’t become the norm. The Prancing Horse fell back down the grid once their power unit advantage was stamped out by the FIA.

Forced to watch on as the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes, AlphaTauri, Racing Point, Alpine and McLaren all recorded wins over the last two seasons, the team and Leclerc could do little to reverse the downward spiral.

Ferrari are back

That’s all in the past now, with Leclerc‘s victory in Bahrain a reminder to everyone that his nickname has some merit. Having won numerous trophies throughout his junior career, the time may finally be now for the Monegasque ace to strut his stuff in a car that finally looks worthy of bearing the Ferrari name.

Having said all that, it goes without saying that Sunday’s race was just the first of 23 scheduled for the 2022 F1 season. Binotto was adamant after the victory that he wants to wait four or five races before stating Ferrari are once again a title contender.

That will be a tough message to get across to the Tifosi, who haven’t seen the team start a season with a 1-2 finish since the days of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa back in 2010.

After two incredibly difficult years, you can’t fault them for dreaming big. They’ll certainly be hoping the turnaround is finally here, perhaps even “predestinato”.

Adriano Boin
Adriano Boin
Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1 and Ferrari.
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Max Verstappen in the Paddock ahead of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Betting Odds for Chinese GP 2024

0
As the Formula 1 circus rolls into Shanghai for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, betting odds are keenly watched...
Pierre Gasly of Red Bull Racing during practice for 2019 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Chinese GP 2024 Weather: Latest forecast for F1 race in Shanghai

0
As Formula 1 teams gear up for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, all eyes are on the ever-changing weather...
Zhou Guanyu displays 2024 Chinese GP helmet

All the new F1 driver helmets for 2024 Chinese Grand Prix

0
Formula 1 finally returns to Shanghai for the first time since 2019 as the Chinese Grand Prix is back...
Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull leads Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and the rest of the field at the start of the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Chinese Grand Prix – Past Winners

0
The Chinese Grand Prix has showcased a series of spectacular races since its first race in 2004 at the...

Where to Watch F1 2024 Chinese GP on TV and Streaming

0
The 2024 Chinese Grand Prix is gearing up to be an electrifying event in the Formula 1 calendar, as...
The Chinese GP returned to the calendar in 2024 | Dan Istitene / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Unpredictability and unknowns are the Chinese GP buzzwords

0
The Chinese Grand Prix is back for 2024 after five years away due the Covid-19 pandemic and it almost...
Race winner Max Verstappen, Second placed Sergio Perez and Third placed Carlos Sainz of Ferrari celebrate with Craig Dear, Principal Aerodynamicist at Red Bull Racing on the podium at 2024 Japanese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Carlos Sainz fuels Red Bull talk as Ferrari star reveals ‘best options’

0
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has dropped a hint over which Formula 1 team he would like to join for...
The Chinese GP is held in Shanghai. F1/X

F1 stars voice safety fears as Chinese GP organisers face scrutiny over painted track

0
Organisers for the Formula 1 2024 Chinese Grand Prix are facing questions from F1 teams and drivers over their...
Alexander Albon of Williams during 2023 Canadian Grand Prix | Williams F1 Team

Alex Albon would rather ‘stay at home’ than avoid risks despite Williams chassis fears

0
The extent of the issues at Williams became apparent when they revealed they do not have the resources to...
Lando Norris navigates The Strip Circuit at the 2023 Las Vegas GP | McLaren F1 Team

Disheartened Lando Norris rules out any chance of an F1 race win soon

0
After the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, a Formula 1 win for Lando Norris felt like an eventual inevitability, but...
- Advertisment -