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Charles Leclerc 'is a very charming, intelligent kid, but he’s anxious,' says Damon Hill

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks on in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

1996 F1 world champion Damon Hill believes that Charles Leclerc's anxiety is holding him back when compared to his season rival, Max Verstappen. Despite being 'charming' and 'intelligent,' as described by Hill, the Monegasque has a tendency to question himself at times.

The Briton claimed that he felt this about Charles Leclerc when the latter once apologized to his team, taking full responsibility for what went wrong. Hill said he would never have imagined the likes of Michael Schumacher to do the same. Reigning world champion Max Verstappen, on the other hand, never seems to have lacked this confidence.

Speaking on the F1 Nation Podcast and comparing Charles Leclerc to the championship leader, Hill said:

“[Max Verstappen] just had so much confidence (the first time we interviewed him). It was utterly unbelievable for a 17-year-old. And Charles is a very charming, intelligent kid, but he’s anxious. He’s got an anxiety there. I thought the first time I heard him say, ‘I’m really sorry guys, that was all my fault’, I just thought ‘can’t imagine Michael Schumacher saying that ever.’”
I am disappointed in myself. I'm sorry but being sorry is not enough. Seb hasn't got any faults today. I've let the team down after them working a whole week to bring the updates early. Too eager to gain those places in the first lap. I will learn from it.

Charles Leclerc 'lacks something', says former Ferrari team principal

Former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt confessed that Charles Leclerc is championship material. However, there is something he lacks that is stopping him from achieving this goal. While the Frenchman did not specify exactly what he believes Leclerc lacks, he admitted that he hopes he is able to fill that void sooner rather than later.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Todt said:

"Charles is already a great champion. He still lacks something. I hope he has it soon."

The 76-year-old added that he truly believes 'Ferrari is back to winning' and that a lot of people support the outfit:

"Ferrari is back to winning. I think almost everyone would like to see Ferrari win the championships, not just a few races. We can hope for next year, because this year I don't think it's possible anymore."
"But to win you need excellence at all levels. It is difficult to achieve it, and even more so to maintain it. It starts with excellence in detail. You cannot make two mistakes the same, if it happens it means that there is something to change."

Charles Leclerc has a massive 116-point deficit to Max Verstappen in the drivers' standings. The Dutchman is in place to potentially secure the championship title this weekend at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann
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