Promoted: How Leclerc aims to continue his Bahrain form in China

Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari will be very competitive at this weekend’s Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix. Leclerc’s hopes for a maiden GP win were dashed a fortnight ago in Bahrain, when an electrical problem caused him to lose the lead, but he hopes victory will be his in Shanghai.

Speaking at a PR event organised by Shell in the build-up to the Chinese GP, Leclerc was optimistic about Ferrari’s form at a track which features one of the longest straights on the F1 calendar, measuring 1.1km.

“Hopefully we will continue our competitiveness from Bahrain. After the analysis from that race we were very quick on the straights and we want to maintain that advantage,” said Leclerc. “However we need to keep working as we know the competition is working very hard too.”

After leading most of the Bahrain GP, Leclerc’s electrical fault with his power unit forced the Ferrari to slow, and although he relinquished the lead to Hamilton, a late-race Safety Car ensured he finished third at the flag – his first podium in F1.

“It was disappointing as I was very close to my first grand prix victory in Formula 1, but on the other hand, to have an issue and to still finish third is something we should be happy about.

“In a season it’s unusual if other teams don’t have problems too, so if we can finish third every time we have an issue – then I’ll be very pleased.”

Leclerc was speaking at an ice rink in the city of Shanghai, where he was showcasing the benefits of Shell Helix Ultra and Shell V-Power by taking part in a go-kart obstacle course, competing against Chinese world champion short track speed skater Han Tian Yu , for a PR event organised by Shell.

During the event, Leclerc spoke to local media about his heartbreak in Bahrain and his hopes for the coming weekend.

“What happened in Bahrain is part of motorsport and it doesn’t go your way sometimes,” said Leclerc. “But overall the performance was there – that’s the most important thing. Hopefully we can recover and take the win here in Shanghai.”

Leclerc impressed in only his second grand prix start for Ferrari in a weekend where his four-time world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel came back to fifth having to pit for a third time after a spin. In the short time he has been with the Scuderia, Leclerc admits Vettel has helped him learn more about driving and F1.

“Sebastian is extremely experienced, he’s very talented and he’s a great benchmark for me. I’ve definitely learnt a lot from him, but still have a lot to learn – and our relationship is very good.

“Your team-mate is the first person you want to beat, but what is more important is that we are working together to improve the car. There is competition but we need to work as a team to get the most out of the package.”

At the end of last year it was calculated that 21% of the power unit lap time gain over the course of the 2018 season had come from the Shell fuels and lubricants – which Leclerc was keen to praise.

“It’s a very close partnership,” he said. “Fuel and lubricants in F1 are very important for both performance and reliability and Shell are working very closely on that technical relationship with Ferrari to push the performance forward. When I was racing in the junior categories, we didn’t really learn anything about fuel and lubricants as it was standardised across the grid. But now I can see the partnership between Shell and Ferrari is really working together well for both performance and reliability.”

shares
comments
Mercedes: Racing Point tie-up "very different" to Ferrari/Haas

Previous article

Mercedes: Racing Point tie-up "very different" to Ferrari/Haas

Next article

Chinese GP: Bottas quickest in FP3, big crash for Albon

Chinese GP: Bottas quickest in FP3, big crash for Albon
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Chinese GP
Drivers Charles Leclerc
Teams Ferrari
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021