Formula 1: This statistic could haunt Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /

Charles Leclerc’s pole to win conversion rate is quite low throughout his Formula 1 career, especially in relation to Max Verstappen’s.

This past Saturday, Ferrari secured a front row lockout for the first time since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc took the pole position for the 2022 Formula 1 season’s fifth race, Sunday’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix, ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in second place.

But for the fifth time in Ferrari’s last six front row lockouts, the Scuderia failed to convert the 1-2 start into a win.

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passed Sainz for second place at the start of the 57-lap race around the brand-new 19-turn, 3.363-mile (5.412-kilometer) Miami International Autodrome temporary street circuit around Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

And on lap nine, the reigning world champion made his way around Leclerc for the lead. Despite a late safety car period that erased the lead he had built up, he was able to hold off Leclerc and secure his second consecutive win and his third win of the year.

While Verstappen has won three races this year and Leclerc has won two, Verstappen’s two DNFs mean that Leclerc still has a 19-point advantage in the driver standings.

However, given the fact that Verstappen has won every race he has finished, and the fact that he lost two surefire runner-up finishes with his two late reliability related DNFs, he is listed by WynnBET as the favorite to win this year’s world championship.

With 18 races to go, Verstappen is listed as the slight favorite at -120 (bet $120 to win $100), and Leclerc is listed closely behind at +115 (bet $100 to win $115).

One additional factor that could come into play in terms of who is viewed as the favorite is what each is able to do from the pole position and who can turn Saturday success into Sunday success. And right now, that statistic is one which looks like it could come back to haunt Leclerc.

Verstappen has 14 career pole positions, while Leclerc has 12. Neither driver had taken a pole position since before the 2019 season. Yet despite how close the two have been on pole positions, Verstappen now has 23 wins, while Leclerc has only four — the same number Verstappen has in the last six races alone.

Leclerc has never won from a position other than pole, and his pole-to-win conversion rate is only 33.33%. Verstappen, meanwhile, has turned 10 of his 14 pole positions into wins, good for 71.43%. He is one for one in 2022. And he has another 13 victories, including two from the second row this year, to go along with those 10.

This makes Verstappen roughly 4.93 times as efficient as Leclerc in terms of converting Saturday success into Sunday success.

What is a positive for Leclerc is the fact that, prior to Sunday’s race, he had been two for two in 2022, taking pole and winning in both Bahrain and Melbourne.

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However, given how tight the battle is between the two title protagonists, he may not be able to afford not turning poles into wins, and he will almost certainly need to win from a position other than P1 at some point this year to be crowned world champion.