Leclerc no longer "intimidated" to adapt Ferrari to his style
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc says he is no longer reluctant to adapt the Italian outfit’s 2019 Formula 1 car to suit his driving style, having been “a little bit intimidated” at the start of the year.
Leclerc, who joined Ferrari from Sauber for his second season in F1 this year, is currently on a streak of four successive podiums, and has led Ferrari’s efforts in the latest races in France, Austria and Great Britain.
Speaking ahead of the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, the Monegasque racer said he had made a change to the way he worked with the Ferrari SF90 around the time of the Paul Ricard race, and believes this allowed him to extract more performance.
“I think before France it was more myself that was adapting to the car, after that I think we change a little bit the approach and I think I adapted a bit more the car to my driving,” Leclerc explained.
“So then I could drive a little bit more naturally, which helped me.”
Asked why he he hadn’t been working in that way prior to the Paul Ricard weekend, Leclerc said: “You know, arriving in such a big team, obviously when I arrived it was only my second year in Formula 1, you are a little bit intimidated - or I was a little bit intimidated.
“And to straight away arrive and say 'okay, I want this, this and this' was not the way I wanted to start this relationship.
“So at first I wanted to understand the car, try to adapt my driving as much as possible to the car,
“At one point, I managed to do good things adapting my driving style, but then I felt that there was more performance by trying to put the car a little bit more into my direction, and this has helped the performance since then.”
Leclerc’s recent run of form has allowed him to close to within just three points of his teammate Sebastian Vettel, with the four-time F1 champion having qualified and finished behind the Monegasque in each of the last three races.
But while Leclerc currently seems more at ease with the SF90, he has backed Vettel to rediscover his form in no time.
“I think at the end Seb has done very good races too, maybe hasn't been so lucky in the last few ones but I'm pretty sure that very soon he'll be back on top, it's just a matter of time.”
Additional reporting by Roberto Chinchero
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