Red Bull’s 1-2 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last Sunday will have felt all the sweeter after Ferrari’s double DNF.
World champion Max Verstappen was victorious in Baku and now holds a 21-point lead at the top of the drivers’ standings ahead of teammate Sergio Perez.
Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, was left wondering what might have been – again – after a second retirement in his past three races.
It has left the 24-year-old trailing Verstappen by 34 points, with Ferrari seeking swift solutions to their current predicaments after hydraulics problems ended Carlos Sainz’s race on Sunday.
There is precious little time for Ferrari, too, with the race calendar taking the F1 circus straight to Canada this weekend – resulting in just a “short-term” fix for Sainz’s car.
“Hydraulic components from Carlos’ car have already been examined,” Ferrari said on Tuesday. “A short-term fix is in place for Canada, while work is ongoing on mid/long-term solutions.”
Ferrari also took Leclerc’s engine back to their factory for further assessment after a power unit issue forced him to retire having led the Azerbaijan GP.
How to watch Canadian Grand Prix 2022
All times BST
Friday 17 June
- Practice 1: 7pm (Sky Sports F1 from 6.30pm)
- Practice 2: 10pm (Sky Sports F1 from 9.45pm)
Saturday 18 June
- Practice 3: 6pm (Sky Sports F1 from 5.45pm)
- Qualifying: 9pm (Sky Sports F1 from 8pm and Main Event from 8.30pm)
Sunday 19 June
- Canadian Grand Prix: 7pm (Sky Sports F1 from 5.30pm and Main Event from 6.30pm)
“It’s a third disappointment in a row, and it’s not easy,” said Leclerc, who finished fourth in Monaco. “I’m confident that mentally I will be as strong as I was five races ago, when I was leading the championship, at the next race, and the motivation is still there.
“But we need to get on top of those things. And obviously, reliability is something that we need to look into after the last three races. As a team, we need to maybe do a step on that.”
The real test for Leclerc’s engine will come on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, and the same could be said for Lewis Hamilton’s back.
The seven-time champion endured a painful Azerbaijan GP, battling to fourth despite Mercedes’ “porpoising” issues leaving him requiring assistance to get out of this car.
Drivers’ standings – Top 10
- 1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 150
- 2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 129
- 3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 116
- 4. George Russell (Mercedes) – 99
- 5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 83
- 6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 62
- 7. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 50
- 8. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) – 40
- 9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 31
- 10. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 16
“Lewis we all know this is a bit of a s**t -box to drive and sorry for the back,” team principal Toto Wolff had said over the radio, although despite the concerns Hamilton confirmed he is fit to race the Canadian GP.
“Back is a little sore and bruised but nothing serious, thankfully,” Hamilton said on Monday.
“We have to keep fighting. No time like the present to pull together and we will. I’ll be there this weekend, wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Mercedes’ motorsport strategy director James Vowles admitted the team pushed their drivers “too far” in Baku, while the FIA has even stepped in to address the “phenomenon of aerodynamic oscillations”.
The FIA said in a statement: “It is necessary to intervene to require that the teams make the necessary adjustments to reduce or to eliminate this phenomenon.”
Their “short-term measures” include closer scrutiny of the cars’ planks and skids, with the FIA concluding: “In a sport where the competitors are routinely driving at speeds in excess of 300km/h, it is considered that all of a driver’s concentration needs to be focused on that task and that excessive fatigue or pain experienced by a driver could have significant consequences should it result in a loss of concentration.
“In addition, the FIA has concerns in relation to the immediate physical impact on the health of the drivers, a number of whom have reported back pain following recent events.”