Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2019

Leclerc suspects aggressive driving style is causing tyre woes

2019 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc suspects he is suffering with tyre degradation in races because his driving style is too aggressive.

The Ferrari driver was passed by team mate Sebastian Vettel on the penultimate lap of last weekend’s race in Hungary. Vettel had run a longer first stint on his tyres, allowing him to fit soft rubber for his final stint and catch Leclerc.

Speaking after the race Leclerc said he needs to understand how Vettel was able to preserve his tyres for longer.

“I’ve been struggling more and have more tyre degradation compared to Seb,” he said. “So I believe probably it’s coming also from driving, maybe I’m driving a bit too aggressively now in races.

“We need to understand and analyse and try to improve for the next races.”

Leclerc has out-qualified Vettel for the last five races in a row, but he believes the key weakness he needs to work on is in races.

“I was lacking pace at the end of the first stint and at the end of the second stint, mostly tyre degradation. So I don’t know, that’s a few races that I’m quite quick in qualifying but at the end of the races I struggle a bit more.

“I need to understand if I need to adjust a little bit that. But there’s probably also a little bit of driving to try and save a little bit better the tyres in the race.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Leclerc suspects aggressive driving style is causing tyre woes”

  1. John Richards (@legardforpresident)
    6th August 2019, 9:09

    Charles just needs to dial down and get back in a rhythm. He’ll find his footing eventually. Heck, on a good day, he’s been the faster of the two Ferraris. He’ll learn. 2020 could herald a new era of Charles. Like Max pre-Monaco 2018, Charles is likely going through a phase where he’s trying really hard to impress the team.

    1. On a good day? That’s a funny viewpoint. Good for who? What about the days Vettel is quicker? Is that simply down to Charles having a bad day? Or is Vettel a constant and charles a variable?

      1. John Richards (@legardforpresident)
        6th August 2019, 10:30

        You can’t deny that Leclerc is as close as, if not quicker than Vettel these days. Its in race trim where the German has the upper hand. Vettel will deliver the goods no matter what. Charles is still learning. Then again, Max took all of 4 seasons to get to the level of maturity he exhibits now. All I’m saying is that Leclerc is the best of all the “#2” drivers out there.

        1. Exactly. We have to remember this is just Leclerc’s second season in F1. Max in 2016 (second season) made plenty of mistakes too. Charles is adapting really quickly, and when he fully does, it’ll be impressive to watch him race against Hamilton and Verstappen for wins and titles

  2. Interesting, that could be seen in Sauber aswell, in races when he got outraced by marcus it was often due to his lack of tyre preservation. Driving fast is one thing, being fast and nice to the tyres/car is different thing, that can be seen all the way from club racing to the top level of motorsport. To be a future champ thats something he will need to improve, sometimes a more extreme stint might be needed for tactical resons, so its really an important skill to have.

  3. Leclerc is showing a good attitude here. Where many drivers would be defensive and blame an inferior strategy for losing out to Vettel he is looking at it critically and finding areas he needs to improve. Earlier in the season he targeted qualifying as a weakness, and he seems to have improved there, hopefully he can do the same with tyre preservation.

    1. This is true.
      Leclerc will be very difficult to beat as a teammate if he can minimize the mistakes (1) , improve his race race (2) and master these tricky pirelli tires (3).

      Easier said than done but as a Ferrari F1 driver it’s what people expect from you.

  4. Charles showing his best quality, he’s a rational thinker, he may be right or may be wrong eventually he’ll find out and progress.

  5. maybe I’m driving a bit too aggressively now in races.

    really charles?
    Like ramming your tires against a frontwing of an already passed car?
    Or driving on the edge of dirty when defending.. ( or worse.. as Wolff stated)
    There is still a lot charles needs to learn. But a steap learning curve is also a learning curve.

    1. Here’s a Mercedes fan if there ever was one…

      1. No, a max fan instead. Trying to downtalk CL. Also, Wolff said his driving was “borderline dirty” talking about MV, not CL, in Austria.
        And about CLs tires touching BOTs FW, it wasn’t a fault of CL. It happened bc BOT suddenly turned to the right. Racing incident and it costed BOT dearly.

        1. Nope, Wolff talked about LEC.
          And i am a F1 fan.. all good drivers deserve this. Even LEC. But at the moment he is error prone and te agressive on the wrong moments.

          1. The remarks by Wolff came after Silverstone. Where LEC pushed VER off track .

            Btw, if you look at the way VET had to pass LEC in hongary and his move, it was also borderline

          2. Nope, he was talking about max in Austria:

            Asked (..) if the stewards’ decision in Austria was already enabling harder racing, Wolff said: “Yeah, you can clearly see that the Leclerc/Verstappen incident of Austria is being interpreted exactly in the way it was in Austria, and hard racing is permitted.

            “You can push somebody out while exiting the corner.”

            In England max tried to be dirty again, but LEC wasn’t having any of that.
            LEC isn’t error prone. He made two big mistakes this season, which is his first at FER and second overall. One of them in difficult wet circumstances in which he was one of many. One minor mistake in Monaco.

            And now VET is borderline dirty? The pass on LEC wasn’t even hard-fought, let alone anywhere close to dirty.

            So I guess, everybody is a dirty player except for max.
            Like I said above, max fan.

  6. “Leclerc has out-qualified Vettel for the last five races in a row“

    come on, keith, you’re better than that. austria – no q3 for vettel. germany – no qualifying for vettel. because of “no time set” germany doesn’t even count in the official statistics. this is manipulative journalism (blogging)

  7. I’m wondering if this is also part of the reason LEC often shows better one lap pace than VET.

    A difference in driving style probably also means a difference in setup, both can be factors for increased tire wear.

    I’d imagine VET is better at finding that balance between one lap speed and low tire wear in race pace. I have no doubt LEC will learn, but it could come at the cost of losing those 1-2 tenths he often have on VET.

  8. Vettel did freaking 40 laps last year on the Softs in Bahrain when people didnt think they could to 30. I know people see Hamilton as one of the best at saving tires, but so is Vettel. And he doesn’t complain about it while doing it.
    Speed is very little age related. Race craft is.

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