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F1: Leclerc says Mercedes will win once more, however will not retain title


 Leclerc steers during the second practice session of the Miami Formula One Grand Prix at the Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Florida, on May 6, 2022.

Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc steers through the second observe session of the Miami Formula One Grand Prix on the Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Florida, on May 6, 2022. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

World championship chief Charles Leclerc believes Mercedes will bounce again and beat his Ferrari crew in some races this 12 months, however are unlikely to do sufficient to retain their constructors’ world title.

Speaking to CNN on Thursday forward of this weekend’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the Monegasque driver stated he anticipated Ferrari and Red Bull to offer a four-way tussle for the drivers’ title and be the primary protagonists within the groups’ title race.

But, as he made clear with a smile, he wouldn’t permit the battle for glory to spoil his enjoyment of what has, up to now, been the happiest season of his profession.

“I love my job, I love driving, this was what I always dreamt to do,” he stated. “And now I’m in Formula One with one of the best crew on this planet, for my part, Ferrari — and preventing for wins. So, life is nice.

“I am definitely going to the track with a big smile on my face because I am obviously in a much happier place than last year. Going to the track, knowing you have the opportunity to win… it feels amazing.”

Asked about fallen champions Mercedes, who’ve struggled with their automotive below the brand new laws launched this 12 months, he stated they’d get well.

“I am pretty sure they will win races at some time this season,” he stated. “I by no means write them off as a result of they’re such a powerful crew they usually have proven it up to now.

“But it’s true that they’re struggling and have because the starting of this season -– they appear to have… points that require a little bit of time earlier than they repair them.

“So, maybe not for the championship this year.”

‘Unlucky’ Carlos Sainz

 MAY 06: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari F1-75 leads Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Aston Martin AMR22 Mercedes during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at the Miami International Autodrome on May 06, 2022 in Miami, Florida.

: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari F1-75 leads Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Aston Martin AMR22 Mercedes throughout observe forward of the F1 Grand Prix of Miami on the Miami International Autodrome on May 06, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

Leclerc leads the drivers’ championship with 86 factors forward of defending champion Max Verstappen on 59 and his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez on 54.

Mercedes’ George Russell is fourth on 49 forward of Carlos Sainz, within the second Ferrari, whereas his team-mate, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, is down in seventh on 28 factors.

In the constructors’ championship, Mercedes -– who final 12 months reeled off an unprecedented eighth consecutive triumph –- are third on 77 behind Ferrari on 124 and Red Bull on 113.

Leclerc stated he didn’t see the drivers’ championship as a straight battle between him and Verstappen.

“No, because Checo (Perez) is extremely close,” he stated. “Carlos has been a bit unlucky and maybe now he is getting there too, but I think it will be between us four.”

He added that he felt safer in his place as chief this 12 months than he had up to now.

“In 2019, every time I found myself in the lead, to be completely honest I don’t think I was completely in control of the situation,” he stated.

“Obviously (there have been) plenty of feelings. I used to be main the primary laps of my profession, one thing I had dreamt of doing since I used to be little one -– and being a Ferrari driver within the first 12 months…

“This year everything is a lot more controlled. I know why we are here. I know everything we have done to arrive at this point of fighting for the championship. I know what to do to win races.”

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