Hakkinen: 'Leclerc takes Sauber to a different level'


Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen says Charles Leclerc's ability to extract the most out of his Sauber tells him all he needs to know about the young rookie.

The former McLaren driver is just the latest voice to chime in on the 20-year-old's impressive performance since he graduated to the big time earlier this season.

Leclerc has scored points for Sauber in four of the last five races, displaying flair, consistency and speed. But the fact that he's done it with the Swiss outfit is what has impressed Hakkinen.

"Leclerc’s speed has been proven in the lower formulae, he won both the GP3 and Formula 2 championship titles in 2016 and 2017," Hakkinen wrote in his usual Unibet post-GP column.

"But the thing which is surprising everyone in F1 is that he seems to have the ability to take the Sauber to a different level, which shows that he knows how to extract the maximum performance from the package.

"He also knows how to score points with four points-scoring finishes in the last five events. This is the thing that top teams demand from world class drivers; consistency combined with speed."

As for Leclerc's future, Hakkinen has no doubts about where the Monegasque will be haeding at the end of the year.

"The team [Sauber] is supported by Alfa Romeo for the next three years, and as many of you will know Alfa Romeo belongs to the same company as Ferrari.

"Sauber also uses Ferrari engines, having previously turned down an approach from Honda last season. So, the Ferrari links are clear."

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