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Italian media point Leclerc to 'flawless' Verstappen: He learns from his errors

Italian media have reacted in numbers over the contrasting fortunes experienced by F1 title rivals Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen at the French Grand Prix.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc threw away a potential race win at the French Grand Prix as he dramatically crashed out of the race while leading. It means Red Bull rival Max Verstappen – who went on to claim victory – now holds a 63-point advantage at the top of the standings, with 10 races left to run. Meanwhile, despite Carlos Sainz's strong recovery from the back of the grid to fifth, Red Bull surged 82 points clear of Ferrari in the Constructors' battle. After the race, Italian publications rushed to offer their assessment of Leclerc's mistake, Verstappen's subsequent cruise to victory and what the two outcomes mean for this year's championship battle.

Leclerc's French GP victory chances "go up in smoke"

"Leclerc was dominating, Ferrari were strong and Red Bull were in trouble," wrote La Gazzetta dello Sport . "He ended up in the tyre barriers and saw a fourth win this season go up in smoke. C'est la vie. Verstappen took full advantage and gained another 25 points in the battle for the title." The publication continued by noting the importance of cutting out mistakes in a title race and how Verstappen has become a "flawless" competitor by doing so. "Leclerc is a driver with a lot of talent, who works hard and does everything he can," their report added. "Unfortunately, he made a mistake, but he admitted it immediately and with that earned a lot of sympathy. "Verstappen was pleased to have won again, even though he knows he did not have the fastest car in France. This makes it difficult to assess how things would have gone without Leclerc's crash. "However, to become the champion you need to win and not make mistakes. Verstappen has learned from his past mistakes and is now a flawless driver."

Leclerc's crash compared to Vettel's Hockenheim disaster

Meanwhile, the Corriere dello Sport compared Leclerc's crash to Sebastian Vettel's painful race-ending mistake on home soil at the 2018 German Grand Prix. Vettel was also leading the pack on that day at Hockenheim, as rain began to fall, with his hopes of challenging for the title dashed thereafter. "Every Ferrari fan shouted that it shouldn't be this way, including Leclerc himself," read their summary of events. "Nobody is perfect, but the title always goes to the one who makes the fewest mistakes. With this big gap, it is Verstappen's road to the title. "Leclerc will learn from this and not make the same mistake again. He has always learned from his mistakes in the past. But the taste remains very bitter at this point. "It feels like Vettel's crash at Hockenheim when he was leading for Ferrari four years ago."

A "defining moment" in the race for the 2022 F1 title?

Over at La Repubblica , there were suggestions that Sunday's Grand Prix could be a turning point in the title race. "Verstappen again showed how mature he is and uses his full talent," they wrote, giving him nine out of 10 for his performance. "He always knows how to get the most out of it. He saw that Leclerc was strong, kept putting pressure on him and eventually Leclerc made a mistake. "Perhaps it is a decisive moment in the battle for the championship. With 63 points, it will be very difficult for Ferrari to get back in the fight." Giving Leclerc a score of four, they continued: "He was open and honest, but that doesn't diminish the mistake he made. You can't throw away a victory like that. "It was a big mistake and he seems to be paying a heavy price for it."

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