Charles Leclerc fires warning at championship rivals after fast start to season

Charles Leclerc has warned his Formula 1 rivals that there is "more to come" from both himself and Ferrari after a lightning fast start to the 2022 season.

Ferrari look like the team to beat after just two races, opening an already impressive 40-point gap over Mercedes in second. The margin to Red Bull grows by one and is perhaps more significant, given that it is Christian Horner 's team which looks like the only one which can match the Italians right now.

In the drivers' standings, the top two drivers are those who wear red racing suits. Leclerc leads the way with 45 points, after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix and coming second in Saudi Arabia, while back-to-back podiums have seen Carlos Sainz also start well.

Defending champion Max Verstappen is next best, but already 25 points behind the leader Leclerc. That gap would be much narrower had his Red Bull not suffered a fatal mechanical issue in Bahrain, but ifs, buts and maybes will not decide the outcome of the championship – points will.

Leclerc already looks like the chief threat to Verstappen's crown this year, after beating Sainz in both races so far and looking to have a car much faster than the ones driven by Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. And if the Monegasque's prediction for the upcoming races comes true, then the title holder has much to be concerned about.

"I feel good in general, but there’s definitely more to come," Leclerc told reporters. "The thing I'm happy about is not really the performance but that I know exactly where I still need to work, and what I need to improve to unlock more performance.

"Whether it will be enough or not to win the world championship, I have no idea. It's still very early on in the season, but let's say that it's a very good start to the season. As I said many times, I think development will be key, and we as drivers need to help the team in the best way possible to keep this competitiveness."

Meanwhile, Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko has admitted that Verstappen's goal of defending his title will not be an easy one to complete. "It will also be a long, hard road for Max," he told Osterreich. "The tests have already shown that Ferrari has a car that can keep up in all conditions. And we have to take Mercedes into account – Hamilton is only nine points behind Max."

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