Leclerc still not feeling confident after 'big step' up to F1

Charles Leclerc (MON) Sauber F1 Team. 09.06.2018.
© XPB 

By any measure, Sauber's rookie driver Charles Leclerc has had an impressive start to his Formula 1 career.

He's been in the top ten in three out of his first seven Grand Prix starts, including sixth place in Baku. He picked up another point last time out with a battling performance to tenth in Montreal.

It's got him a lot of attention in the press, and praise from fellow drivers including Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. But despite that, the man himself admits that he still doen't have a great level of confidence.

"Strangely it's not that high," he said. "It has gone well for now but it's not like I feel completely confident.

"I'm not someone that always feels confident about himself," he confessed.

"Okay they are good results. But after every race I always try to find a negative about myself and try to improve them," he added. "I'm always trying to improve - and I think that's also a strength."

His Canadian outing saw him having to manage a brake problem for the second race in a row. He had crashed out in Monaco with a disc failure, suggesting this is an area of concern for Sauber.

"As a team we can still do some improvements with the brakes because we are still struggling," he agreed.

The reigning Formula 2 champion said that the feeder series had been "a great preparation" for F1. But even so, he admitted that it had been a bigger step up than he had been expecting.

"Even being in this sport since I was three, I did not expect that jump to be so big," Leclerc acknowledged. "You need to learn how to work with so many people, and for me that was quite difficult in the beginning.

"In F2 you are only speaking to one person, which is your engineer. But here you have so many people that are taking care of smaller areas than you have in F2.

"That takes a little bit of time to get used to.

"The amount of procedures, and changes in driving style, just everything, is a whole step forward," he explained. "The weekend overall is very different. A lot more busy with media and everything.

"But the goal is the same, to do the best job possible in the car."

He suggested that the steep learning curve was the reason why it had taken him four races before he clinched his first points in Azerbaijan.

"It was difficult for me at the beginning," he said. "Maybe what I would have wished is to understand the car a bit quicker.

"If I could have changed something, that's the thing I would have changed," he added. "But two races, let's say three races, to learn completely the car is not huge."

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