Leclerc already pushing Ferrari engineers hard

Charles Leclerc established a "good starting point" on his Ferrari Formula 1 debut and is already pushing its engineers "hard", according to his new team boss Mattia Binotto.

Leclerc already pushing Ferrari engineers hard

Leclerc was signed to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari after just one year in F1 with Sauber.

He finished fifth, just behind four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel after being denied a chance to attack him late on, in his debut in last weekend's Australian Grand Prix.

Asked by Motorsport.com to appraise Leclerc's first weekend for Ferrari, Binotto said: "I'm happy, I'm happy the way he's behaving as a team player.

"Not only as a driver, he's very helpful for the team. He [is] very involved trying to do his best, pushing the engineers hard to try to do [get] even them to improve themselves and to have a better car.

"If we judge his entire weekend it's a pretty strong one. His qualy wasn't perfect, he's aware of it, but I think he drove well also in Q1, Q2.

"Maybe not perfect in Q3, but generally speaking he had a good weekend. His second stint was also performing well.

"I'm happy with the way he's approaching the first race and it's a good starting point."

The dynamic between Leclerc and Vettel has been highlighted by many F1 figures as a key storyline in 2019.

Leclerc, on a better strategy than Vettel, would likely have been able to pass his new teammate for fourth and beaten him at the first attempt had Ferrari not chosen to adopt a zero-risk approach at the end of the grand prix.

Vettel reiterated his belief that Leclerc will "put a lot of pressure on me the whole season" when asked by Motorsport.com to consider Leclerc's debut and his own first start for Ferrari back in 2015.

"For Charles, obviously it's a dream coming true - similar to me, [but] obviously at a different point in his career," said Vettel.

"It's quite nice to be that young and join a big team like that.

"I think he's done really well from what I've seen so far, he will put a lot of pressure on me the whole season.

"I'm aware of that and I think it will be very close.

"He's very talented, I want to meet his parents and congratulate them because by the looks of it they brought up a nice boy, and a fast driver too.

"I'm sure we'll have tough and tight battles this year, but more than anything I hope we have a lot of fun together."

 

shares
comments
Fastest lap point "livened up" Australian GP, says Brawn

Previous article

Fastest lap point "livened up" Australian GP, says Brawn

Next article

Kubica: No F1 return regrets despite Williams struggles

Kubica: No F1 return regrets despite Williams struggles
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Charles Leclerc
Teams Ferrari
Author Edd Straw
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021