What’s gone wrong with Mercedes and can they recover?
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Ferrari have rejected advice from a former driver to make Formula 1 World Championship keader Charles Leclerc their main man. Leclerc’s early success this season has put Ferrari within sight of their first Formula 1 title since 2007 but, despite advice to the contrary, team chief Mattia Binotto is eager to avoid team orders discouraging Carlos Sainz from challenging his partner.
Eddie Irvine spent four seasons on Ferrari’s books between 1996 and 1999 alongside seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. Leclerc currently leads his nearest rival—Mercedes’ George Russell—by 34 points, with Sainz another four behind in third, and Irvine believes his old team should get behind the Monegasque as their main man.
“If I were Mattia, I would give precise orders – like in my day – because beating [Max] Verstappen is already tough,” he told Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport. Irvine went on to emphasise the gap in skill level separating Leclerc and Sainz is more negligible than that between Verstappen and his Red Bull team-mate, Sergio Perez.
It’s worth noting Sainz finished last season in fifth, two places and 5.5 points better off than Leclerc. Given the seemingly superior aggregate among Ferrari’s drivers, the team principal is motivated to ensure both stars keep competing with one another, as well as the rest of the field.
Lewis Hamilton suffering more than Mercedes partner George Russell due to being ‘spoiled’
“It’s only three races which have been done now,” Binotto told Autosport. “There are still 20 races left, hopefully 19 or 20. So the championship is still very long. Our drivers are free to fight, and I am really looking forward and enjoying that they are battling for a good place, and first place, if possible.”
It’s fortunate for Ferrari that Red Bull have endured such a sticky start to the campaign, with titleholder Verstappen having failed to finish two of three races thus far. Joint-title record-holder Lewis Hamilton has also struggled due to Mercedes’ design flaws and has just one podium finish (third place in Bahrain).
Valtteri Bottas says he’s ‘happier’ without having to work with ‘dominant’ Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton backs Porsche despite Mercedes and Ferrari’s fears of Red Bull plan
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc’s clever tactics labelled ‘beautiful part’ of F1
The F1-75, meanwhile, continues to put Ferrari ahead of its rivals, with the team also streaking ahead in the manufacturers’ championship. A 39-point cushion currently distances them from Mercedes in second, with no other driver pairing having produced multiple podium finishes as of yet.
Ferrari are hoping to win the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix for the first time when the season resumes in Italy on Sunday. Leclerc and Sainz finished a respective fourth and fifth at the Imola meeting last year but are perfectly poised to better that feat in 2022.
Source: Read Full Article