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French Grand Prix: Charles Leclerc has ‘steep mountain’ to climb after latest mistake

“If I keep doing mistakes like this, then I deserve to not win the championship.”

Charles Leclerc was brutal in his assessment of the mistake that meant he crashed out of the lead of the French Grand Prix, but then he had reason to be.

The race was far from won at that point. The Ferrari driver’s title rival Max Verstappen had just pitted for fresh tyres. Leclerc was going to stay out for a few more laps. He would have rejoined behind the Red Bull but with fresher tyres, and the question would have been whether he could have overtaken to reclaim the lead.

But he never got to find out, and the error handed an easy win to Verstappen – his seventh in 12 races – and, more to the point, a colossal 63-point championship lead.

With 10 races to go, 25 points for a victory, a seven-point difference between first and second place and Ferrari not exactly having the smoothest of seasons, one does not have to be a mathematician to see just how steep a mountain Leclerc has to climb now.

“I am performing at the highest level of my career,” a downcast Leclerc said. “But if I keep doing those mistakes it is pointless.

“I am giving away too many points. Seven in Imola; 25 here because we were probably the strongest car on track.

“So if we lose the championship by 32 points at the end of the year, I will know where they are coming from and it is unacceptable.”

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