Charles Leclerc wants Ferrari to use the final races of this season to make improvements in order to provide Max Verstappen with a sterner challenge in 2023 after his “incredible” performance in this year’s championship.
Leclerc was leading the championship until the Spanish Grand Prix in May after a strong start to the season, and he wants Ferrari to end strongly too in order to be a bigger threat next year.
“Of course, a huge congratulations to Max and to Red Bull,” Leclerc said. “They’ve done an incredible job this year. Max has just been incredible and it’s a title fully deserved.
“On our side, we’ll try to push for the last four races this season to improve as a team and to hopefully put more of a challenge next year.”
Leclerc would have delayed Verstappen’s coronation for another race had he been classified second at Suzuka – he crossed the line second but was demoted to third place for cutting the chicane on the final lap – but he says a Ferrari trait of using its tires too quickly came back to hurt him.
“We were very fast for four or five laps but unfortunately the race was a bit longer than that and the front were just gone after four or five laps and after that it was all about trying to survive until the end of the race.
“The end of the race was extremely difficult. Obviously Checo (Perez) was putting quite a bit of pressure behind and I was really, really struggling with both of my front tires so, at the end, I ended up making a mistake but we were really, struggling.”