Following his breakthrough points finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc feels moving away from the driving style that saw him claim the GP3 Series and FIA Formula 2 championships in consecutive seasons has benefited him in Formula 1.
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team driver secured a first visit to the second phase of Qualifying at the Baku Street Circuit and followed that up with a strong drive to sixth on race day, with Leclerc revealing he made the switch from driving with a car that oversteers to one that understeers, and found himself going quicker as a result.
“GP3 and Formula 2 cars you drive with a lot of oversteer and this is the way to go fast,” Leclerc is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.
“I did not expect to go quicker when going towards an understeer set-up in F1, but this seems the way these cars work. I just need to get on with it.”
After a few mistakes in the opening three races, Leclerc was sublime in Azerbaijan after moving closer to the set-up of team-mate Marcus Ericsson, with the move removing some of the uncertainty he had about the predictability of the C37-Ferrari.
“I improved a lot because of the approach we had with the set-up,” added Leclerc. “We went to a more understeering car for me. My car was way too unpredictable and was very difficult to put everything together.
“We targeted a more understeering balance and it has been night and day [different] for me.”
Leclerc was delighted to see the whole weekend in Azerbaijan click together, even though they were helped by the circumstances, for his first points of his career in just his fourth outing.
“It’s good to have one good one where we put everything together,” said Leclerc. “Obviously we have been helped by the circumstances but we took our opportunity here and this is great.”