In an interview for Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc opened up on the difficult moment with the Maranello team, but once again highlighted his intention to continue with Ferrari:
How do you manage to stay positive?
Charles Leclerc: “I am by nature. I seek motivation from whatever situation I find myself in. Making the most of what we have. At the moment the package [car] is what it is, and unfortunately miracles don’t exist. But that’s where strength is found. And then what makes me optimistic is something else. The way we are working is the most important thing.
At the beginning of this season we had to almost reset our expectations because the car was not at the expected level. But we are very clear on how we need to improve.”
Is this why you say you want to stay with Ferrari for a long time?
Charles Leclerc: “Yes, in addition to the love for Ferrari that has always been there and still is. We share a lot with Fred, and a lot is about plans for the future.
We are aligned. I know what’s coming, and I’m confident.”
People like you who have won with Ferrari say it’s special. What does that mean?
Charles Leclerc: “For the passion and the feelings around Ferrari. In the toughest moments they are more difficult to manage than in other teams, but that’s the beauty of it. Because you only find and experience certain emotions here [at Ferrari].”
Your name gets mentioned in connection with Mercedes and other teams. Is it nice to be “courted”?
Charles Leclerc: “It certainly means that I do my job well. But these rumours leave me indifferent, because I know what I want. But I still don’t know what Ferrari wants from me.
The contract discussions haven’t started yet, but for me everything is clear.”
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You were able to beat both Verstappen and Hamilton, who is more difficult to deal with?
Charles Leclerc: “Both of them, they have completely different driving styles. Max always goes to the limit, I like his approach. He is aggressive and creates spectacular fights. Lewis on the other hand is very clever. In the way he positions the car after a corner, for example. He is less aggressive but thinks more. If he doesn’t overtake you in one place, it’s because he’s thinking of an easier one in which to attack!”
Max never makes mistakes, is he unbeatable?
Charles Leclerc: “He can be beaten, we have already done it. It’s up to us to roll up our sleeves to get him and Red Bull back.”
At 25, who is Charles Leclerc: a boy or a man?
Charles Leclerc: “I had to grow up very quickly due to personal events (the loss of his father and Jules Bianchi), so I don’t feel changed. As a driver, on the other hand, I have matured a lot, but inside I still have the same fire!”
What do you promise the Tifosi when you return to winning?
Charles Leclerc: “I have been at Ferrari for a while, I’ve experienced more difficult years than good ones. However, at the risk of repeating myself, I say that you have to be patient. I will give everything to bring some excitement. I hope we will soon see steps forward to fight for interesting positions.”