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F1 | Marcus Ericsson claims the Ferrari support "will go in Charles’ corner"

Charles Leclerc's former Alfa Romeo teammate, Marcus Ericsson, told F1 Nation that he feels Scuderia Ferrari will have to make the monegasque racer their number one driver if they hope to win the F1 Drivers' Championship in 2022.

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F1 | Marcus Ericsson claims the Ferrari support "will go in Charles’ corner"
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic - Motorlat.com

In the hours which followed Charles Leclerc’s solid second place in at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, F1 podcast, F1 Nation, recorded its broadcast in the paddock with ex-Formula One racer Marcus Ericsson as their special guest. Having been teammate to Charles Leclerc at Alfa Romeo when the Monegasque racer entered F1 in 2018, Ericsson was well placed to provide an insight into the driver currently leading the F1 Drivers’ Championship. However, with Max Verstappen gaining ground fast, Ericsson believes that Scuderia Ferrari need to put everything into Leclerc if they wish to keep Verstappen at bay.

Having made their way down to the Scuderia Ferrari garage, Marcus Ericsson was asked by host Tom Clarkson as to why Charles Leclerc is so special. 

Already in 2018, when he came into Formula One, you could tell straight away that he’s an extremely fast race car driver, I think there’s no doubt about that...but the way also he works, his work ethic, you could tell that straight away he was so determined to do well and learn, to speak to me, he asked me a lot of questions.

“I had quite a bit of experience at that point. But he was super fast, straight away, in the car. He’s his own worst critic, he is self-critical when he makes mistakes and owns up to them and learns from them.”

A recent error which Charles Leclerc owned up to was his uncharacteristic spin during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Whilst hunting down second place man Sergio Perez on track in Imola, Leclerc spun out of a comfortable P3 in the closing stages and crossed the line in a regrettable P6. This result saw the Ferrari man take home 8 points as opposed to 15. Nevertheless, Marcus Ericsson told F1 Nation that the way Leclerc learns from his mistakes as opposed to dwelling on them, makes him even more of a threat.

I think that’s one of the biggest strengths of Charles Leclerc, that he does mistakes sometimes and learns from them, moves on from them, and becomes stronger,” Ericsson remarked. “He is a cool head and I think he’s gonna thrive [under any pressure]. I think he’s gonna do really well with it.

Marcus Ericsson can make such a claim having seen it firsthand in his days racing alongside the Monegasque with Alfa Romeo.

“From what I saw from being beside him, the more pressure was on him, the better he performed – he was that kind of guy. I think he’s been frustrated the last couple of years because Ferrari hasn’t had the car to really fight up front, and now he has it. From what we’ve seen so far, he seems to be delivering when he has that pressure on him.”

Charles Leclerc certainly does have the car to fight at the front and had opened up a 46-point lead in the F1 Drivers’ Championship after the first three Grands Prix. Max Verstappen though is not a racer to relinquish his hard-fought title with ease and the Dutchman has clawed his way back into the fight so much that he is now just 19 points behind Leclerc. It is for this reason that Marcus Ericsson believes Scuderia Ferrari must name Charles Leclerc as their number one driver and put everything behind him in the hunt for the title.

“Charles is taking that leader role this year now and they’re gonna have to support him for that championship, I believe so,” Ericsson told F1 Nation host Tom Clarkson. “I think the way Carlos has been driving the last couple of weekends, it doesn’t seem like he maybe agrees on that! He’s trying to be ahead of Charles but, like we’ve seen in the past, it’s always good for a team going for a championship to have a clear leader that goes for it, like Max and Lewis [Hamilton] have been the last few years. So I think the support will go in Charles’ corner going ahead.”

Formula One in 2022 is far from predictable and this weekend is a huge Grand Prix for Carlos Sainz and not just because it is the Spaniard’s home race. A combination of bad luck and errors on track have seen Carlos Sainz muster 53 points compared to his teammate Charles Leclerc’s haul of 104. Scuderia Ferrari need both drivers scoring points at the front if they wish to claim the Constructors’ Championship, but they must also be keen not to lose sight of the Drivers’ title in trying to appease Sainz. It is an important race weekend to say the least.  

So many potential outcomes. Carlos Sainz may force his way back into the title chase; Charles Leclerc may have extended his lead in the standings or Max Verstappen may have narrowed the gap further. All of this before even mentioning Sergio Perez and his own title chances. Time will tell as to what decision Scuderia Ferrari do make but one would assume it needs to be made sooner rather than later.


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