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The 12 statements to remember from the press conference of Charles Leclerc

2 May 2019 - 15h26

The Monegasque driver had made an appointment with the press this morning, at the race direction. Several topics were mentioned during a little less than half an hour, including his start to the season, his relationship with Sebastian Vettel and the “few instructions” from Ferrari.

Vestiges of a past not so distant, his first helmet and his KF3 world champion karting trophy, obtained in 2011, were set on the table. This morning, at the race direction on the quai Albert Ier, Charles Leclerc presented himself before an audience of journalists. Smiling and available, the Monegasque driver took the time to answer all the questions, in French as in English, evoking as well his beginning of season as his relation with Sebastian Vettel, his team-mate at Ferrari. And did not look away when the question about the instructions of the racing team was invited to the press conference… Here is a collection of the statements to remember.

His start to the season:

“I am rather satisfied, unfortunately the last race (in Azerbaijan) did not go as I wished I made a mistake on Saturday, but it happens. I think the performance was pretty good. The first weekend in Australia was to get used to Ferrari, it’s a big team, with a lot of people, I had to get used to it all. But otherwise, yes, I’m pretty satisfied.”

What he would like to change in his first four races:

“What happened in Bahrain is motorsport, it’s hard to change that kind of thing, but it’s complicated to anticipate a problem like the one we had, I would say that it’s more the mistake of Saturday, in Baku, which cost me, sincerely, we had the potential to do the pole. What is certain is that it cost me a better place.”

His position on the team:

“On some races, there were some instructions, I understood some of them, and as I said, I’m willing to follow instructions up to a certain point. Until now, it was acceptable, it’s up to me to do the job to try to be ahead.”

Ferrari’s No. 1 driver’s seat:

“The first win is going to be important, although I think the performances shown at each Grand Prix are even more so I have to keep doing the work and try to push to bring back the first win at home.”

The Monaco Grand Prix, in three weeks:

“Running at home is always something special, especially for me who was really born in Monaco, I will try to approach this appointment as normal as possible, I can not wait to drive here, especially since it’s one of my favorite tracks, we did not have much luck last year, I hope to reproduce the same personal performance, with a better result.”

The adjustments to bring to the car:

“We have to work a bit on the pace of racing. The settings of the car are picky, the potential is there. I have already made a step in Baku, qualifying, I hope that we’ll do some more soon, but we’re not far, we’re not talking about two seconds, but two or three tenths, in Bahrain, Ferrari was clearly above, and in Australia and China, it was Mercedes, in Baku we were really good, then we did what we all know and I think we are not as bad as the championship let it imagine.”

What karting brought him:

“That’s what made me the driver that I am today, that’s a lot of learning, it’s the basis of motorsport. For the pilot mind, it’s very important, just like knowing how to work with a team. In fact, it’s beneficial on many aspects. But I will remember especially the good times. It is much less serious than the single seater, we are really enjoying ourselves. These are moments I will never forget.”

About the Barcelona Grand Prix, in ten days:

“I feel pretty good on this track, it’s hard to tell the difference there, because the drivers have made so many laps (it’s in Barcelona that the tests of the beginning of the season are going on). As for the winter tests, I do not think it’s a good benchmark for the race, the temperatures were very different, we’ll see how that goes, but I’m sure Mercedes will still be very strong.”

The domination of Mercedes, which is already 74 points ahead of Ferrari:

“It is true that there are already quite a few points of difference, but we have just raced in the 4th race. it will be important to be very good in Barcelona as a driver, nothing is lost until it’s over, I still believe it, like the whole team, and luckily, because we are only going to do the 5th race! The car has great potential.”

His relationship with his brother, Arthur, engaged in German Formula 4:

“I support him as much as I can but, on the other hand, it’s as important as growing up on his own. Sometimes you feel lonely, especially in the car where you have been preparing on your own and you have to be fully ready, I try to make him aware of this and to interfere as little as possible with his team. Of course, if he needs help, he knows I’m here for him, we watch our respective races and are always in touch.”

The most important adjustment in becoming an F1 driver:

“I was in a lucky position because I was caught by Ferrari, I think the surprise comes from working with so many people. F1 is a big challenge, especially when you enter this category at a young age. You have to talk to many people in the team and get into the technical details of the car. It’s not like in the others categories, where you do not have as many settings to make.”

The time he needs to recover from his mistakes and mechanical hazards:

“Very short, to be honest, I think about it in the next few hours but then I forget and try to look ahead and to be focused as much as possible on the next race. It is not a good thing to stay on top of your mistakes, so I forget and I do not need to do anything special to help me to forget.”

Jérémie Bernigole et Délia Kriel

© Philippe Lombard

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