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Jacques Villeneuve questions Charles Leclerc’s title-winning credentials after ‘little mistakes’

Legendary former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve questions Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc’s title-winning credentials… and claims he won’t claim the title until he stops making ‘little mistakes’

  • Jacques Villeneuve unsure if Leclerc has what it takes to win the title
  • The former world champion claimed Leclerc made several ‘little mistakes’
  • Leclerc’s early 46-point lead on the standings has been wiped out by Verstappen
  • The Red Bull driver now has 49 points removed as he looks for his second title

Jacques Villeneuve has wondered if Charles Leclerc has the credentials to win the Formula 1 World Championship.

The former world champion believes Leclerc’s turnaround in this year’s competition is due to a number of mistakes, and claims the 24-year-old will not win the title until those mistakes are ironed out.

The Ferrari driver rode to a 46-point lead over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after several dominant showings early in the season, but has since finished in the top two only twice in seven races.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc squandered a big lead to leave Max Verstappen behind by 49 points

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc squandered a big lead to leave Max Verstappen behind by 49 points

The Canadian, who won the title for Williams in 1997, told the F1 Nation podcast: ‘He is super fast, but at the moment he still makes a few small mistakes that he should not do.

‘Imola for example, then he will not be helped by the team. That’s the energy they all have together.

“We now know that he is fast, aggressive, is he a world champion? Does he look like Max? How is he under pressure when the money is for the championship?

“We still have to figure that out.”

Villeneuve’s claims followed a disappointing fifth-place finish for Leclerc after starting from the grid, having taken a new drive unit and engine parts ahead of the race weekend.

Jacques Villeneuve told F1 Nation Podcast how 'minor mistakes' hurt Monegask

Jacques Villeneuve told F1 Nation Podcast how ‘minor mistakes’ hurt Monegask

And no matter how well Ferrari and Leclerc started the season, they won two of the first three races, a combination of mechanical failures and poor strategy left the Italian powerhouse further behind Red Bull.

Nowhere were Ferrari’s inefficiencies more apparent than at the 24-year-old’s home race in Monaco, where he failed to win despite holding pole.

The Italian constructors called both drivers into the pits, meaning Leclerc was trapped in a row behind his team-mate Carlos Sainz and lost precious time and track position to fall back to a disastrous fourth place.

Then in Montreal, Leclerc struggled to make up the necessary ground when he became entangled in the middle of an overcrowded mid-order when Ferrari’s gamble of his care ultimately failed.

Leclerc struggled to make up for ground after starting at the back of the grid and finishing fifth

Leclerc struggled to make up for ground after starting at the back of the grid and finishing fifth

Villeneuve added: “If you’re in a Ferrari, you should only have a Red Bull in front of you.

“Before the race they took those penalties because it’s Montreal, and in their minds the worst thing they could do was finish P4 with [Sergio] Perez still in the race – and they didn’t.

“That also shows how good Lewis [Hamilton] was because he was actually standing in front of a Ferrari. There was also a safety car that allowed Charles to get close to the pack and he finished fifth.

“It’s good to save points, but it’s not good enough. They had a bad pit stop and got out behind four cars instead of in front of them.

“Fighting for those positions cost their tires, which is why they didn’t get the Mercedes in the end.”

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