Five races without a point, three of which ended in retirement, had somewhat put the brakes on what has been a superb rookie season for Charles Leclerc. But, buoyed by confirmation of his 2019 move to Ferrari, the Sauber star returned to the top ten in Singapore – and did so in impressive fashion.
Charles Leclerc believes Sauber executed a close-to-perfect Singapore Grand Prix as he returned to the points-paying positions for the first time since Austria. The 20-year-old Monégasque racing driver started from 13th on the grid and ran a long first on Ultrasoft tyres to gradually move up the order as those who made Q3 and started on Hypersofts pitted earlier.
Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc came out of the pits in ninth position and preserved the spot through to the chequered flag. It marked Leclerc’s sixth top 10 finish of the campaign as he ended a run of five Grands Prix without a point – the longest of his nascent Formula 1 career: “What a race – it was quite close to being perfect,” he said. We had strong lap times, and the balance of the car felt good from the beginning to the end. We made a great recovery this weekend, after having a weaker race pace on Friday. With our strategy, we were able to fight our way to the front of the midfield and finish in the points again. Achieving this after the past few weekends feels good and shows our potential.” – he explained.
It is perhaps understandable that Leclerc was delighted with his Sunday exploits, given the problems the team encountered on Friday when Leclerc first ripped the right-front wheel off his car in a brush with the barriers and then both he and team mate Marcus Ericsson struggled for performance on high fuel. Fresh from the news that he will partner Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari next season, replacing the experienced Kimi Raikkonen, Leclerc delivered a mature performance in Singapore to bring home two points for his current squad.
Charles Leclerc remains 15th in the drivers’ standings, 12 points behind Haas’ Romain Grosjean