Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Paul Ricard, 2018

Leclerc disappointed in himself for 10th-place finish

2018 French Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc has said he thinks Sauber extracted the maximum from the French Grand Prix but that his own mistake cost them a place.

Leclerc qualified eighth, following problems for both Haas cars after he reached Q3. After overtaking Raikkonen on lap one, the pace of the Sauber was unable to compete with the top six cars, even as Vettel and Bottas came back up the order.

Describing his finish, Leclerc said the Sauber pace had actually surprised even the team – “At the end we had to respect it a little bit – as I said yesterday, the Haas were very strong, the Renault were very strong also.

“But at the end of it I think we were more surprised than anyone, we were actually following them and putting pressure on them which we definitely did not expect today.”

Asked whether he could have finished higher he said “At the end I don’t think we could have done much better – probably one point more was possible today.”

Leclerc attributed the fall back to a mistake while following Magnussen, saying that he pushed too hard – “I’m really only a bit disappointed with myself because I think overall we did a great race, in the team but I did a mistake following Kevin, I tried to get back into the DRS zone and put pressure on him and I lost the car in turn two being too close to him and then Nico Hulkenberg overtook us.

“So we lost quite a bit of time there and we lost one place. So it’s a bit of a shame. But at the end we had a very smooth run in the last four or five races, without any mistakes so sometimes it happens and I’ll try to learn from it, to get better.”

Leclerc has scored 11 of Sauber’s 13 championship points this season.

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14 comments on “Leclerc disappointed in himself for 10th-place finish”

  1. That choice of picture on the top – with Kimi in the background – is just cheeky! :-)

  2. Overshadowing everyone really, shoe in for driver of the first half of the season already.

    1. @flatsix, it has to be said that he was a bit off form in the opening few races though – outqualified in Australia (though Ericsson’s hydraulics problem means we don’t know how that would have played out in the race), whilst in Bahrain and China, he was beaten by Ericsson by a fair margin and, in the case of China, did also make a few mistakes during that race because he was pushing too hard (such as spinning out at the first turn).
      It’s fair to say that, since then, he’s been performing pretty strongly, but even so there have been a few small blemishes on the way.

      1. He is getting better and better. Constant improvement as opposed to Verstappen who came in with hype, started great but been very hit and miss there after. He will beat Vettel if he goes to Ferrari. Take some effort to get to Hamiltons level but could take Vettel at some point next year given a chance, cheaper than Vettel as well, Ferrari need to sign him.

      2. Which one would expect from any rookie I’d say? Even despite all that he’s been brilliant, and as Markp says, his very upward trend us just there week in week out.

        I don’t think he’ll be close to Vettel anytime soon, but I do hope Ferrari gamble on Leclerc for 2019.

        1. @flatsix @markp @anon Again pretty remarkable for Leclerc. As for his mistake… it was minor and possibly cost him no points. I don’t think he would have been able to withstand either Hulkenberg or the Haas. I actually hope he doesn’t go to Ferrari yet. He would be branded a #2 driver and potentially hamper a potentially brilliant career. That’s just what Ferrari does. There is a long pattern of taking young promising talent and sinking those careers, Irvine, Barrichello, Massa, and Raikkonen (although he wasn’t a young talent and was pretty mediocre from the beginning).

  3. I think he put too much pressure on his shoulders. What is a result of this he can ask his future colleague named Daniil.

  4. Odd title. What I get from the article is that he was more surprised and happy that the car was performing so well and only a tiny bit disappointed about losing a single place (which might or might not have been able to avoid).

    Either way, good for him that all his hard work together with the engineers to improve the car worked so well. It’s amazing what they can (sometimes) do to improve a poorly performing car with some setting tweaks.

    1. Distressingly – given what a good job he did today – Leclerc sounded genuinely upset with himself when he was speaking about it, hence the title. Agree he did a good job and the team have a lot of reasons to be happy!

      1. Leclerc sounded genuinely upset with himself

        Great kid.

  5. Couldn’t we penalize MAG for this.. defending against the new Ferrari hope must be a violation of the FIA rules..

    Nobody seems to pass MAG – even BOT had his troubles today…MAG must be black flagged for 10 races

  6. I think it was strategic mistake. Sauber should pit Charles right after Nico pass him and try to undercuts with fresher tyres.

  7. Truly great drivers are able to do more with less. I think Leclerc is one of those drivers. Like Vettel in the Toro Rosso or Schumacher in the Jordan, this kid in the Sauber is making a believer out of me. Also, it was always my belief that Jules Bianchi was going to replace Kimi at Ferrari, I now believe that it will be Leclerc, which is just synchronistic because they were good friends.

  8. Another thing- look at the fastest lap for MAG and LEC (on this site) – no way LEC could have won that fight.. MAG was just saving his tyres on the first stint. Later he was allmost 1 sek faster/lap.. even BOT was having troubles..

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