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Charles Leclerc remains biggest threat to Max Verstappen’s F1 world title defense, says Naomi Schiff


Max Verstappen won the Azerbaijan GP on Sunday to extend his world championship lead; Sergio Perez came second after Charles Leclerc retired with engine failure; watch the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend live on Sky Sports – practice starts at 6.30pm on Friday

Last update: 06/12/22 7:12 p.m.

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Max Verstappen crosses the finish line to claim first place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Max Verstappen crosses the finish line to claim first place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc remains a bigger threat than Sergio Perez to Max Verstappen’s world championship title defense, despite Ferrari’s reliability issues, according to Sky Sports F1’s Naomi Schiff.

Verstappen struggled to keep pace with Leclerc and Red Bull teammate Perez in practice and qualifying at the Azerbaijan GP but was in a league of its own on Sunday as it sealed a fourth win in five races.

While a double Ferrari DNF caused by engine failures prevented a full speed comparison of Verstappen and Leclerc, the Dutchman looked to have the advantage in the early stages, before racing away from Perez to seal a comfortable double .

The win extended Verstappen’s world championship lead to 21 points, while Perez edged Leclerc for second place, with a 13-point gap separating them ahead of the Canadian GP, ​​which begins on Friday, live on Sky Sports.

“I think it’s probably still Charles [who is the biggest threat]”Said Schiff after the Ferrari driver failed to convert pole into victory for a fourth race in a row.

Charles Leclerc remains biggest threat to Max Verstappen’s F1 world title defense, says Naomi Schiff

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Charles Leclerc was absent from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after suffering engine failure on lap 20 in Baku

Charles Leclerc was absent from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after suffering engine failure on lap 20 in Baku

“Obviously he’s very quick, he’s outclassed them a lot.

“It’s just a matter of whether Ferrari can sort out their technical issues. I think he’s going to be really disappointed with what happened. We don’t want to see a championship decided by that.”

“But then the other question is whether Red Bull will let its drivers race?”

Charles Leclerc remains biggest threat to Max Verstappen’s F1 world title defense, says Naomi Schiff

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Azerbaijan GP Highlights from Baku City Circuit

Azerbaijan GP Highlights from Baku City Circuit

Di Resta: Verstappen has shown why he makes big money

Perez arrived in Baku full of confidence having edged Verstappen to win in Monaco and sealed a two-year contract extension with the team.

The Mexican’s speed – and the narrow 15-point gap that separated him from his team-mate at the start of the weekend – led to much speculation as to who the team would favor in terms of strategy, but the pace advantage obvious from Verstappen made their decision easy. .

Charles Leclerc remains biggest threat to Max Verstappen’s F1 world title defense, says Naomi Schiff

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Verstappen overtakes his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to take first place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix!

Verstappen overtakes his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to take first place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix!

With Verstappen closing in on Perez, he was warned there should be “no fights” and quickly let the world champion pass with no problem.

Sky Sports F1’s Paul Di Resta was impressed with Verstappen’s performance which saw him claim a 66th podium finish for Red Bull, beating Sebastian Vettel’s team record.

“No one could match it today,” said Di Resta.

“When you see ‘Checo’ Perez, who obviously beat him in every session this weekend when the official results were given, he’s 20 seconds ahead.

Charles Leclerc remains biggest threat to Max Verstappen’s F1 world title defense, says Naomi Schiff

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Verstappen was delighted to claim victory in Baku but insisted he and his team would not get carried away.

Verstappen was delighted to claim victory in Baku but insisted he and his team would not get carried away.

“That’s the difference. That’s why he’s paid so much and that’s why he was world champion last year and that’s why people are afraid to race him.”

Despite Verstappen dominating Perez on Sunday in Baku, Di Resta believes the Mexican is still in the title hunt.

“Checo is a different person this year,” added Di Resta. “He is absolutely ready for the fight and he should come away very satisfied.

“When you think he’s finished first and second in the last two GPs, and is now second in the championship, he’s Max’s biggest challenger at the moment.

“He’s a headache for Red Bull at some point, but at the same time he’s in it.”




Sky Sports

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