British Grand Prix – Sauber’s Charles Leclerc says that, despite stellar results in recent races, he’s still not feeling particularly confident in himself.
The young Sauber driver has been the rookie of the year so far, catching the eye of pundits and fans thanks to some great races. After a shaky start to his F1 career at the first three races, he has scored points in five of the last six races and lies 14th in the Driver’s table.
Having made it into Q3 in France, he scored a P10 finish while, in Austria, he led home a Sauber double points finish with P9 ahead of teammate Marcus Ericsson. Despite his strong form, the young Moneqasque admitted in Thursday’s press conference that he still doesn’t feel 100% sure of himself heading to races: “The confidence is not so high because I’m always looking at the negatives after each grand prix and yeah, there’s still plenty of negatives. I did some mistakes in Paul Ricard, and again in Austria but yeah, we’ve been in the points consistently, which is great.”
“We definitely did not expect it. Q2, six times in a row now I think, which is, again, quite crazy. I expect a bit more of a difficult weekend here, especially with high speed corners but we’ll try to push and hopefully we’ll have a very positive weekend again.”
Sauber are on something of a renaissance this year after several years at the very back of the field. Boasting a new partnership with Alfa Romeo, Sauber have become an unofficial B-Team for Ferrari and Leclerc says he’s enjoying helping the team’s recovery: “It’s great to see the hard work of the team and that it pays off on the track. It’s not like we’re having a revolutionary change and upgrades – but any time we’ve put something on the car it went in the right direction. And yeah, we’ve seen that on track and it’s not always a given in Formula One. Sometimes you bring something and it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do on track. So, yeah, the team’s doing a great job on that, and they are giving me a car that is easy to drive also. So, everything is going good.”
As a result of his form, Leclerc has been linked with a possible move to Ferrari to replace Kimi Raikkonen, who is without contract at the end of this season. While he admits to hearing about the rumours, he says he’s not getting distracted by the possibilities and is keeping focused on doing the best job he can for Sauber: “We are growing races after races. They are bringing packages and we keep going more and more to the front, so that’s good to see. Then yeah, we’ll have to see for next year. We’ll have to see what other opportunities I get. And then we’ll see. For now, I’m really focussing on this year. Trying to develop the car, like we did. I think we are… yeah, it’s above expectations, what we are doing for now. As a team I don’t think we thought we would develop as good as we are now. So, that’s great to see, and then we’ll see next year.”