Charles Leclerc: Ferrari driver's painful team radio from French GP crash

Ferrari's Leclerc in France

Charles Leclerc devastatingly crashed out while leading the French Grand Prix, scuppering chances of a third victory in a row for Ferrari.

Leclerc secured pole position on Saturday and had successfully held off World Drivers’ Championship rival Max Verstappen from the race start, but spun and crashed out of the race on the 18th lap.

The crash has seriously damaged Leclerc’s hopes of capturing the Drivers’ championship with Verstappen winning the 53-lap race, extending his lead over Leclerc by a further 25 points to now lead by 63.

Leclerc had looked strong throughout the race weekend, and had strong pace in qualifying and the race, with the Monegasque driver effectively keeping Max Verstappen behind him.

Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz cut through the field after starting from 19th due to numerous engine penalties, but the hard work began to unravel when Leclerc lost control of the car around turn 11 and spun into the barriers, bringing to an end his race.

Leclerc walked away from the shunt safely, but was visibly and audibly distraught at the crash in what he has since taken responsibility for, despite initial fears over a potentially recurring throttle issue.

His team radio following the crash is incredibly passionate, and showcases the raw emotion Leclerc felt after throwing away the race win. The audio has garnered plenty of interest on Twitter, and understandably so.

Leclerc initially appears to suggest that he lost control of the throttle following the shunt into the barriers, before going quiet and breathing heavily down the radio.

He then followed up moments after with an uncharacteristic yet telling shriek, expressing his immediate frustration at the costly error, which could also seriously dent Ferrari’s Constructors’ championship hopes.

A truly heartbreaking moment for Leclerc and Ferrari fans, who were full of belief that he could convert the pole into a win.

Ferrari's Leclerc
LE CASTELLET, FRANCE – JULY 24: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks dejected as he walks in the Paddock after retiring from the race during the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 24, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

But instead, Ferrari walked away with just 11 points from the weekend.

Sainz’s hard work to cut through the field and overtake Perez on old medium compound tyres later in the race was undone when Ferrari pulled him in for a second pitstop just ten laps from the end of the race, having already bogged him down with a five-second penalty due to an earlier unsafe release.

Red Bull struggled to match the Ferraris on outright pace, but finished up with another win and a fourth place finish for Perez, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell completing the podium at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

Ferrari must find a way to cut out the mistakes and technical errors letting them down in order to keep their championship hopes alive, but can bounce back next weekend at the Hungarian Grand Prix – the final race before the summer break.

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