Despite losing time yesterday after an excursion into the gravel, Charles Leclerc has expressed his happiness over a “quite positive” first winter testing period in his Formula 1 career.
For a second time this week, Leclerc spun at Turn 12 on a fast lap, hitting the barrier and losing just over five hours of track time consequently. After the rebuild from the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team mechanics, the Frenchman went on to set the ninth fastest time of the day, trying the new hyper-soft compound for the first time.
Leclerc lambasted his mistake on Twitter, saying that the day was “not ideal”.
Very happy about the pace. But pushed too much, spun and touched the wall a little bit. Stupid to do that at this time of the day, I will learn from it. Hopefully back on track soon. pic.twitter.com/w9gIHXZE7n
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) March 9, 2018
“Today’s session was not ideal,” said the reigning FIA Formula 2 champion.
“It was unfortunate that we lost some track time after I ran off the track in the morning. I was back on track in the afternoon, and completed some runs testing different tyres.
“It was interesting to drive on the hyper-soft compound for the first time in this car.”
His minor mishaps aside, the Frenchman was pleased with the experience he has gained over the past fortnight as he prepares for his first Formula 1 race at the end of the month.
“Overall, the test has been quite positive for me,” said the Scuderia Ferrari junior.
“I accumulated good mileage, and gained some valuable experience in the C37. I look forward to my first race in Melbourne now.”
Sauber Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur echoed Leclerc’s sentiments, explaining the usefulness of the testing period.
“The past two weeks of testing have been useful for us,” said Vasseur, formerly of the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team.
“We got a first impression of the C37, and our drivers have gained an understanding of how it behaves on track. Our drivers have been working together well and have given productive feedback to the engineering team after each session.”
Following their rebranding late last year, Sauber will run current spec Ferrari engines, having used year old units for the ever since the breakdown of their partnership with BMW.
“In addition to the data that we collected, their input will be crucial in making the final preparations for our first GP at the end of this month.
“The race weekend in Melbourne will be a first step in the development of this new project, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, and I look forward to seeing it progress during the season.”