Leclerc "wouldn't have believed" 2019 results

Charles Leclerc says his first year as a Ferrari Formula 1 driver was better than he expected because he did not believe he would score such good results in 2019.

Leclerc "wouldn't have believed" 2019 results

Leclerc stepped up to Ferrari after just one season in F1 with Sauber and almost won from pole on his second start with the Maranello team, but was foiled by an engine problem in Bahrain.

However, he eventually claimed his first victory in Belgium before following that up with a second win one week later at Ferrari’s home race in Italy.

Leclerc scored seven poles, more than any other driver, over the course of the season and while he did not add to his tally of two victories, he did score a further eight podiums and finished fourth in the championship, 24 points clear of his four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel.

“I'm happy, at the beginning of the season if you will have told me you will have seven poles and 10 podiums, I wouldn't have believed it,” said Leclerc when asked by Motorsport.com about his season. “So it's definitely better than what I expected.

“Looking back though there are quite a few mistakes so the targets now is to understand them and to not do them again. But I am satisfied about this first season.”

Leclerc had many opportunities to earn his breakthrough win before the summer break, but crashed in qualifying in Azerbaijan (where he had threatened for pole), was passed by Max Verstappen on the penultimate lap in Austria and crashed in the rain-hit German Grand Prix, which he would have likely started from pole had another reliability problem not struck in qualifying.

After the summer break, Leclerc could have won four races in a row – a Ferrari strategy quirk denied him victory in Singapore and gave Vettel the win instead, before Vettel’s retirement in Russia caused a safety car that took the win from Leclerc there.

His final pole, in Mexico, turned into fourth in the race because of Ferrari’s strategy.

“It’s not been an easy season,” Leclerc admitted. “The first part we have been struggling but I think we've been working well and I think the hard work paid off on the second part of the season with two incredible wins.

“Obviously Monza is something that was beyond all of my dreams. To be on top of that podium with hundreds and thousands fans of Ferrari was absolutely crazy. These experiences I will never forget them this first year I will never forget it.

“Then again, I've still got a lot of work to do to get better. But I'll put my head down and get better.”

Leclerc said he learned “a huge amount” in his first year with Ferrari and his priority was to ensure any errors made in 2019 are not repeated.

“I'm pretty sure well it will only get better from this season,” he said.

shares
comments
Gordon Murray working with Racing Point on £2m ‘fan car’
Previous article

Gordon Murray working with Racing Point on £2m ‘fan car’

Next article

Grosjean reveals "weakness" Steiner says he can't handle

Grosjean reveals "weakness" Steiner says he can't handle
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022