Charles Leclerc has attempted to find solace from the first half of the season as F1 now heads into its summer break.
The statistics make for uncomfortable reading for Leclerc and Ferrari as compared to the same stage a year ago, the Monegasque is 71 points shy of his total after 12 races, whilst for the Scuderia, there is a 123-point shortfall.
Leclerc's third-place finish in last Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix was only his third podium of the campaign, with his best finish a second place in Austria. Last year, he had claimed five podiums, including three victories.
Of course, 2022 was ultimately a bitter one for Leclerc as he started off a genuine championship contender before badly tailing off amidst a flurry of unreliability, strategic errors, and personal mistakes.
All hope of a revitalising season this year has simply failed to materialise as new team principal Fred Vasseur slowly attempts to reorganise, and put in place a structure that will eventually lead to Ferrari becoming winners again.
Asked to sum up how he felt the first half of the season had gone, Leclerc simply started off by saying: “It didn't go well.
“Before the first race, the target was to go a step better compared to last year, which was to win the world championship.
“If we look at the first half of the year, we are very far from where we put our expectations before the season.”
Leclerc currently finds himself a staggering 215 points behind runaway championship leader Max Verstappen. Last year, the difference was 63 at a point when his title hopes were starting to fade.
On a positive note, Leclerc appreciates the effort made under Vasseur's watch to turn the season around, notably via an upgrade package that played a part in his second-place finish at the Red Bull Ring and third at Spa-Francorchamps.
“As soon as we understood, we reset, and there was an incredible reaction from the team,” said Leclerc. “They brought upgrades, some a month and a half early, and this requires a lot of effort from everybody at Maranello.
“It has helped us have great results, although we still need to try to understand because if I take a step back, in the last two races we expected to be much more competitive in Budapest than Spa. In the end, it's the opposite.
“So these are the things we need to look at because maybe we didn't optimise the package in races like Budapest, and maybe we've done something that was surprisingly good on a track like Spa.”
Leclerc is at least relieved to be heading into the break “on a positive note”, with the hope there is a platform in place on which to build for the remaining 10 races that follow.
He said: “We will now take the time of the summer break – or at least whenever the guys can work again – to try to analyse the last two races and hopefully maximise the package at all races for the second half of the season.”