Revised approach to Spanish GP weekend helping Leclerc

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc says a revised approach to handling the Spanish Grand Prix weekend appears to be helping him avoid the struggles he faced in Portugal.

Revised approach to Spanish GP weekend helping Leclerc

The Ferrari driver emerged from the second free practice session at Barcelona as the closest challenger to Mercedes after a strong day’s running in which he lapped just 0.165s off Lewis Hamilton's FP2 pace.

The Monegasque was outqualified by new team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr last time out in Portugal, but fought back in the race to finish sixth as Sainz slipped out of the points due to heavy graining on the medium tyre.

Leclerc explained that a more structured way of building up to the pace, rather than going flat out from the off, was paying off.

“I changed a little bit my approach to Portimao,” he said.

“I’m taking it a lot more step by step, and I’m driving a lot better. I’m just in a better place with the car.

“So hopefully we can keep on building on that strong first day, as it will be important with qualifying, especially on this track.

“I think we know where to improve. Now let’s see if we do a good job by just getting better where we are struggling at.”

Leclerc felt that an attack mindset in Portugal in finding the limits in each session left him exposed to not understanding the strengths and weaknesses of his Ferrari package when it mattered for qualifying.

Read Also:

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“After every weekend, I try to analyse what I can do better, and obviously once you are doing a very bad weekend as I did in Portimao apart from the race, you realise even more what you are doing wrong,” he explained.

“I knew what to do, but it’s always the easy part. You know where you have to improve, but then it’s quite difficult to do it on-track, and here I managed to do it quite well, so I’m happy.”

The demands of the Barcelona circuit, with a long straight, high speed sections and a complex final sector, has been viewed by many as a litmus test of the overall performance of the 2021 cars.

Leclerc said the fact that Ferrari has looked so strong so far was hugely encouraging and proved the progress that his team had made over the winter after languishing to sixth in the constructors' championship in 2020.

“Last year I think we were struggling quite a lot, and this year the car just feels in a much better place,” he said. “This is great.

“I think it’s especially good for the whole team back at the factory that keeps working, when they finally see the numbers and see how much better we are compared to last year.

“It motivates everyone, so it feels good in the car, and hopefully Saturday will be a good day.”

shares
comments

Related video

Formula 1 encouraging teams to look at American drivers

Previous article

Formula 1 encouraging teams to look at American drivers

Next article

Spanish GP qualifying as it happened

Spanish GP qualifying as it happened
Load comments
French Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

French Grand Prix driver ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Prime

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge Prime

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021