Charles Leclerc admits that the step from FIA Formula 2 to Formula 1 was bigger than he anticipated it to be.
The Monegasque driver, currently racing at Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, was successful in his rookie seasons in Formula 2 last year, and in the GP3 Series from the year before.
Leclerc suffered a tricky start to his move to Formula 1 in the opening three races, but stunned everyone with an amazing drive in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to clinch sixth place.
Since then Leclerc has made four consecutive qualifying two appearances at the last four Grands Prix and has scored points in three of those races.
Making the jump from Formula 2 to Formula 1 can be a difficult hurdle for a driver to adjust to, but Leclerc told Autosport.com that he never expected the jump to be so big.
“Even being in this sport since I was three, I did not expect that jump to be so big,” said Leclerc. “The amount of procedures, and changes in driving style, just everything, is a whole step forward.
“It was difficult for me at the beginning. Maybe what I would have wished is to understand the car a bit quicker, but two races, let’s say three races, to learn completely the car is not huge. If I could have changed something that’s the thing I would have changed.”
Many drivers have praised Leclerc for his talent in Formula 1, with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and fellow Scuderia Ferrari driver and friend, Sebastian Vettel all calling Leclerc the real deal, with the Monegasque even linked with a potential drive at Ferrari next year.
Leclerc said he has adapted his approach when into Formula 1 to keep up with the greater intensity surrounding the sport.
“The weekend overall is very different, a lot more busy with media and everything, but the goal is the same: to do the best job possible in the car,” Leclerc continued.
“You need to learn how to work with so many people, and for me that was quite difficult in the beginning. In F2 you are only speaking to one person, which is your engineer, but here you have so many people that are taking care of smaller areas than you have in F2.
“That takes a little bit of time to get used to.”
Leclerc gained experience on tyre management on the Pirelli tyres from his championship winning year in GP3 and Formula 2, and dealing with pit stops for the first time within F2.
Whilst Leclerc says learning in F2 is great preparation for Formula 1, he admits it’s a shame that the series doesn’t involve any hybrid technology, a vital part of modern F1.
“Tyre management is on the same level in F2, but then you have the energy, when to use the energy, fighting with other drivers who have a lot of experience.”