Charles Leclerc told to cut out ‘rash’ moves in Max Verstappen battle by world champion

British former world champion Damon Hill has called on Charles Leclerc to show more cunning and avoid rash moves like his shunt at Imola, which cost him valuable points

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F1 preview: A lap of the Miami Grand Prix

Former Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill has warned Ferrari superstar Charles Leclerc that he cannot make any ‘rash’ moves while racing reigning champ and rival Max Verstappen.

The Monegasque racer currently has a 27-point lead over the milestone as they head into the fifth race of the season, the Miami Grand Prix, this weekend. Verstappen was able to close the gap at Imola by securing maximum points in the Sprint race and the race on Sunday – with the Dutchman taking fastest lap, too.

Verstappen, the 2021 world champion, failed to finish two of the opening three races of the season due to technical issues. As a result, Leclerc burst into a dominant lead and he now faces pressure to compete for – and win – a world title for the first time in his career.

At the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last time out, Leclerc was battling to close the gap on second-placed Sergio Perez before he spun out and ultimately missed out on a podium. The 24-year-old re-entered the race in the ninth and finish sixth.

Hill, who won the world title in 1996, has called on Leclerc to be more calculated and patient. It’s a long season and P3 at Imola would have had a fine result so early in the campaign.

“We’ve seen with Charles of course, Imola was an opportunity to consolidate,” Hill told the F1 Nations podcast. “And he went for a move which was just a little bit too ambitious, and he called it greedy.

Charles Leclerc cut a frustrated figure after his error ensured a sixth-place finish rather than a podium in Imola


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“I was watching sitting down. Literally, I almost grabbed my wife’s leg as he turned in, [when] they showed it from the onboard.

“The moment he turned in, you knew it was too much. I’m not even in the car and I could see it on the telly. I was going, ‘That is not going to work.’ Boom, he spun off. [Leclerc] just thought, ‘I’ll launch it over the curb,’ and it was just far too ambitious.

“And you think, why do that when you’ve got so much responsibility? That’s the sort of thing that you need to weed out of your portfolio as a top driver. You can’t be doing rash moves like that.

Charles Leclerc spun into the wall while he was chasing Red Bull’s Sergio Perez


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“You look at Sergio. Sergio’s a safe pair of hands. He’s quick, and he’s a safe pair of hands. He hardly ever does anything crazy. He’s really good. ”

Leclerc’s error capped a frustrating week for Ferrari at their home race in Imola, as teammate Carlos Sainz was forced to retire after one lap following damage sustained in a collision with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo. Ferrari enter the weekend holding a slender 11-point lead over Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship, while octuple world champions Mercedes are more off the pace in third place with 77 points.

The 22-race F1 2022 campaign – which is expected to return to a record 23 races in the near future once the Russian Grand Prix replacement is found – continues with the Miami Grand Prix on May 8.

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