Leclerc says 'boring moments' help 'put me exactly in the zone'

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc - Hungarian Grand Prix - 31 July 2022
© Ferrari

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has been talking about some of the mental strategies he's adopted this year to help him improve his racing - including giving himself permission to do nothing but train and stay at home

"This year, I have changed quite a few things, especially in the way I prepare myself for races," he said in an extensive interview with BBC Sport's Andrew Benson reflecting on his 2022 season to date.

He said that a lot of this lay "in the way I relax after the races" which he said was key "to put me exactly in the zone, to be able to always be at your 110 per cent whenever you get into the car whatever the other outside pressures."

"There has been a linear progression since I arrived in Formula 1 just by learning year after year and trying to modify some details," he explained.

"This comes from experience. It's not like last year I was not careful to all of these details," he added. "Whenever you get older - I'm still 24, so it's fine - in a way you just feel different things.

"I could feel at the end of last year that I was very tired in the last part of the season. I don't want to get to the last part of this year being tired, because I know it's a big opportunity and I just want to win races.

"So there's a lot more off-time, and time where I'm not doing much at home and in between the races," he said. "Just training and staying at home is basically my new life. Diet, training and staying at home.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc - Hungarian Grand Prix - 31 July 2022

© Ferrari

"So there's a lot more boring moments, if I can call it like that, but that are very helpful and I know they are. And this makes a difference."

As a result, he's doing significantly better compared to his team mate Carlos Sainz, who managed to out-score him last last year. But this season it's Leclerc who looks to have the edge.

One of his new hobbies is playing golf, which he does regularly with Alex Albon and Lando Norris. "It's such a frustrating sport!" he said. "And I always get super-frustrated because whenever I play with them, I don't play well.

"There's something about it that every single small detail makes a difference. In golf, if you don't exactly have the right mindset to hit the ball, then you already know that the ball is going to go everywhere.

"Mentally, it's a very good exercise and that's why we love it so much as drivers," he added.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc - Hungarian Grand Prix - 31 July 2022

© Ferrari

Leclerc acknowledged that having a car capable of winning races and titles was definitely a motivation this year, but said he would carry through everything he'd learned to next year regardless of how things looked in the title battle..

"Whether I'm fighting for the championship or not next year, this will be the new standard for me," he said.

"After two very difficult years where whatever we were doing it was quite frustrating because you'll never get the result that you wanted, now we have the possibility to get the result that we want.

"It's just more happiness, I guess, because whenever you are doing a great job you're rewarded with a victory, which is much more rewarding than a fifth place like last year."

""And it's also beautiful to see the smiles on the faces of all the people now back at the factory and at the track."

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