F1 is so much better with Ferrari back in the hunt


YOU need to have an excellent Brazil side for it to be classified as a great World Cup.

Similar can be said for a strong West Indies team in Test cricket.

Leclerc won the first Grand Prix of the season

Leclerc won the first Grand Prix of the seasonCredit: REX FEATURES

Current world champion Verstappen failed to finish the race after trailing Leclerc for most of the race

Current world champion Verstappen failed to finish the race after trailing Leclerc for most of the raceCredit: REX FEATURES

The equivalent in Formula One is seeing Ferrari back in the hunt for world titles, which is incredible when you think back to those years of dominance from Michael Schumacher.

Here in Bahrain, there was a distinct feeling that Charles Leclerc’s win on Sunday has given the sport a huge shot in the arm – unless you work for Red Bull that is!

Leclerc, 24, is an unusual commodity for F1. He is universally liked, seemingly by everyone including his own team-mates.

While the F1 fanbase is largely split into diehards; Lewis Hamilton’s “Team LH” or Max Verstappen’s “Orange Army”, they all love Leclerc.

It is easy to see why. He is polite – I cannot recall a single moment where he has been even the remotest-bit arrogant or rude in an interview – he speaks three languages and is fair on the track.

His battle with Verstappen on Sunday was hugely respectful and resulted in the Dutchman coming off worse after getting his overtaking all wrong, locking up his wheels and ruining his tyres – the world champ obviously blamed his brakes.

Leclerc is quick and is a fantastic addition into the Max versus Lewis dynamic, which promises to be a  fascinating fight this season.

To have Ferrari in the mix of a team battle will be excellent to watch too, as F1 is a much better place with them at the front, rather than mid-table obscurity.

F1 needs Ferrari just as much as Ferrari needs F1.

All the threats in the past of the Italian team walking away from the sport and setting up their own championship were only going to be empty.

It would not be a world championship without the right to be called F1, while the sport would only maintain its position as the  pinnacle of motorsport with the most famous car brand in the world on board.

Which is why it is staggering to think that this season, after just one victory in the opening race, there is genuine belief Ferrari can win the constructors’ title – for the first time since Hamilton sealed his maiden crown with them in 2008.

Last year was unmatched in terms of drama between Hamilton and Verstappen.

But in 2022, with Ferrari in the mix with along with Red Bull and Mercedes for victories and titles, we could be in for a great season.

🏁 F1 2022 calendar: practice times, dates and racetrack info

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