Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2021

Leclerc admits he “struggles compared to my team mates” at the Hungaroring

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc played down his chances at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, saying he tends to struggle at the twisty Hungaroring compared to his team mates.

The Ferrari driver arrives at the final race before the summer break following a positive start to his third season with the team. He took pole position in Monaco and Azerbaijan and led much of the previous race in Britain.

Leclerc believes the team should be “strong” in this weekend’s race at the Hungaroring

“I don’t think we will be at the level of performance as we’ve seen in Monaco but I hope we can at least be on top of the midfield, which is the realistic fight we are fighting this year,” he said. “So this is the most important target for this weekend. We are quite confident that we can achieve that if we do a good job.

However he admitted the Hungarian circuit is not one where he tends to perform at his best. “It’s not a particularly strong track for myself as a driver, but I’ll try to make the best job possible,” said Leclerc.

In his three Hungarian Grand Prix appearances Leclerc had only out-qualified his team mate once, when he lined up ahead of Sebastian Vettel for the 2019 races.

“It’s a very difficult track, very technical,” Leclerc explained. “You need to be very, very smooth.

“I tend to have a bit more of an aggressive driving style, and it looks like I’m struggling a bit more here compared to my team mates in the past. So I will work on that and try to maximise this weekend.”

Leclerc came within three laps of winning the previous race at Silverstone, almost two years since Ferrari’s last victory. “Obviously it was frustrating because the win was so close and to lose a win so close to the end hurts,” he admitted.

“But on the other hand there was plenty of positives being on the pace of the Mercedes, especially on the first stint. The second stint went a bit more in line to what we expected. But all in all it was a very, very positive weekend for us.”

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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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6 comments on “Leclerc admits he “struggles compared to my team mates” at the Hungaroring”

  1. I don’t think I’ve really noticed Hungary not being a Leclerc track, so this piqued my curiosity. He calls it a ‘very technical’ track, yet this is definitely a Hamilton track and his better tracks tend not to be ‘technical’ (tight, precision, like Monaco) but flowing tracks where he can maintain momentum – ‘smooth’ as Leclerc calls it – through medium/fast corners (Silverstone, Canada) and I kind of had Leclerc down as a similar driver (same with Verstappen). Apparently mistakenly, though, since he calls himself aggressive not smooth, so I’ll have to watch more carefully. An aggressive style could also explain why he isn’t generally so good on wet tracks.

    1. In 2019 his car didn’t made for this track but for STRAIGHT and medium high speed. So, he came 1 minute after Lewis arrived in Finish Line. That is the reason he think it wasn’t his track. But this year car loving Slow speed corner like Hungaroring and Monaco track, so he must be okay in there. Perhaps because failed 2 times (2019 and 2020) he think this track technically is not his track.

      1. Im not sure about his driving style, he kind of aggressive but smooth enough to optimize a ‘flowing’ corner to me. Despite his aggressiveness, I don’t think he is bad on the wet though. In fact he is probably one of the best. Take a look at Brazil quali 2018, Turkey 2020 and to some extent German 2019. At Turkey 2020 starting from 14th and stuck, Charles at one point was more than a full pit stop behind Seb. He claws back, overtook Sebs and even challenging for P2 in the last lap.

    2. @david-br
      I think driving styles are so unique that it’s difficult to put them in certain categories. As you pointed out, Hamilton is very good on fast and flowing circuits like Silverstone, but at the same time also quick on tight and technical ones like Montreal (Hamilton described it once as a ‘karting track’). I don’t see a particular pattern in his driving style.
      Charles seems to have similar qualities. He is very quick on fast and flowing circuits (in 2017 he destroyed the F2 field in Silverstone and Spa), but does very well at stop-and-go tracks, like Monaco or Baku, too.

      Sometimes a certain track just doesn’t seem to suit a driver and there isn’t a obvious reason why and sometimes there is no explanation why a driver is quick at a certain circuit.
      Despite his 7 wins at Montreal, Schumi never liked the circuit and while he loved Silverstone (and was very good at highspeed corners, according to Barrichello), he only won three times there.

      Still, I think Charles is a little bit exaggerating here. In F2 he was almost 0.5 faster than P2 in qualifying at the Hungaroring and despite being disqualified and starting from the back of the grid, he still managed to recover to P4 in the feature race. He also outqualified Seb here in 2019 and was pretty close to him in quali last year.

      1. @srga91 I think you’re right about there being no set pattern. Montreal does have some flowing sections but it’s not entirely clear why it suits Hamilton particularly, maybe a few corners he can work to his advantage. It was CL’s use of ‘technical’ that really caught my attention and also, like you pointed out, Charles’s modesty here, I’d expect him to do well this weekend, he seems in form.

  2. I don’t think he should consider silverstone a missed win, it seems the win was barely not in range, he did the absolute maximum possible and that meant 2nd place.

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