Leclerc: Austrian GP victory "needed" after five-race F1 slump

Charles Leclerc has admitted that his victory in Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix was "needed", after a recent run of difficulties for him and Ferrari.

Leclerc: Austrian GP victory "needed" after five-race F1 slump
Listen to this article

The Monegasque driver took his first win since April’s Australian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday, with better tyre management on his F1-75 allowing him to overtake and beat pole position man Max Verstappen.

The triumph was especially significant because it came off the back of what Leclerc has labelled a ‘disaster’ sequence of races where Ferrari had thrown away opportunities to take more wins.

Engine failures while leading in Spain and Azerbaijan cost him victories there, while strategy errors in Monaco and Britain robbed him of the chance of finishing in front again.

Aware of Leclerc’s growing disappointment about the way the early-season momentum of his championship challenge had faded, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto flew to Monaco last week for a private dinner with the driver to talk through things.

So having finally delivered on the clear potential in the Ferrari, Leclerc made no bones about how crucial it was for him to be back on the top step.

“I definitely needed it,” he said. “I mean, of course, whenever I get to a new race, since five races, I have a smile on my face and I kept being optimistic, but obviously [with] hard race after hard race, it just felt like everything was against me.

“So, finally we had a breakthrough good race and it really feels good to have a win again.”

Read Also:
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

Leclerc said the biggest surprise for him about the Austria performance was not the ultimate pace of the Ferrari, but just how much the relative performance to Red Bull swung around following Verstappen’s sprint race win on Saturday.

“It's been the first time where we were actually quite a bit quicker. So it is not a surprise because we've been working very hard. But probably the surprise is coming from Saturday to Sunday, because [in the sprint] Red Bull seemed to be very strong too.

“But [in the grand prix] we seem to have picked up a bit more pace compared to them. So yeah, it's a good surprise though.”

Leclerc reckons that Ferrari’s chief problem so far this year has not been the pace of the car, but in converting its potential in to success.

“We got a package in Barcelona and then we had another upgrade in Silverstone, and it always went in the right way,” he said.

“I think the performance has been great since Australia, apart from Miami, maybe, where we were a little bit down compared to Red Bull.

“It's been strong in the last five races, but we just couldn't put everything together. So yeah, it's great that we are now finally having a normal race on my side.”

PRIME:
shares
comments
Ricciardo "not walking away" from McLaren or F1 in 2023
Previous article

Ricciardo "not walking away" from McLaren or F1 in 2023

Next article

Zhou: “Risky” tyre choice compromised Austrian race

Zhou: “Risky” tyre choice compromised Austrian race
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Prime

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023, which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall Prime

The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall

Looking back to the early races of 2022 and Ferrari’s challenge to Red Bull and Max Verstappen was going better than many expected. But it has lost so much ground a surprise rival can even pip Charles Leclerc to runner-up in the standings if given the chance

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2022
The F1 podium-finisher that gave Jordan stability in a year of chaos Prime

The F1 podium-finisher that gave Jordan stability in a year of chaos

The Hart-powered Jordan 194 gave the team hope that the good times were just around the corner. Its 1994 steed wasn’t the start of a move up F1’s pecking order - even if the car did earn the Silverstone team a first pole position. But, as STUART CODLING explains, it did provide a platform for Jordan to become a manufacturer-supported squad.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2022