Charles Leclerc must ‘get it together’ in ‘very tough’ title battle against Max Verstappen

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Charles Leclerc must ‘get it together’ towards the end of the season as he goes toe-to-toe with Max Verstappen for the F1 crown, according to Naomi Schiff. The Sky Sports presenter warned the pressure will eventually mount on the young Monegasque as he sets to embark on his first ever title battle.

She has warned going up against reigning champion Verstappen for the whole campaign will be ‘very tough’ and could hamper the Ferrari star’s chances of securing the crown. Leclerc made his first error of the season last time out at Imola as he collided with the kerb at the Varianta Alta with a handful of laps remaining.

The 24-year-old was on course to secure at least P3 but the spin dropped him down to ninth. He mounted an epic comeback in the closing stages to reach sixth but conceded more points to Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Speaking to Express Sport on the launch of Sky Sports new W Series coverage, Schiff said: “The pressure will eventually come on. Being in a championship battle against the likes of Max Verstappen who’s mentally very strong and is a very aggressive driver will be very tough.

“So when it comes down to it at the end of the season, I think Charles has got to really get it together to be in that position against Max. There will be pressure from both sides, the amount of people who are watching, the sponsors,there’s always pressure no matter what you do as a racing driver there is always pressure.”

Leclerc leads the standings by 27 points from Verstappen after the first four races but the Dutchman will feel he could be ahead. Verstappen was running in second when he suffered mechanical failures in both the Bahrain and Australian Grands Prix.

Adding those points onto the board will give the reigning champion an extra 36, meaning he would lead the standings by nine points. It means mistakes from Leclerc could be costly in an ebb and flow title battle set to stretch the whole season.

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Leclerc has suffered from small errors throughout his career which could play a part this season. He crashed out of qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku despite looking odds-on to claim pole position.

The Ferrari star then crashed at the 2019 German Grand Prix while chasing down Lewis Hamilton to secure the race lead. Last season, his crash at the end of Q3 at the Monaco Grand Prix prevented him from starting despite securing pole.

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