Formula 1

“Close to perfect” – Sauber’s Leclerc on Singapore Grand Prix

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Leclerc finished in the points for the sixth time in his career. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team driver Charles Leclerc described Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix as “quite close to being perfect,” as the Monegasque scored points for the first time since the Austrian GP in July.

Leclerc, who will be promoted to the Scuderia Ferrari team for the 2019 season, qualified in thirteenth place at the Marina Bay street circuit and ran a strong one-stop strategy to finish in ninth place, and take the sixth points haul of his career.

What a race – it was quite close to being perfect,” he said. “We had strong lap times, and the balance of the car felt good from the beginning to the end. 

We made a great recovery this weekend, after having a weaker race pace on Friday. 

With our strategy, we were able to fight our way to the front of the midfield and finish in the points again.”

Leclerc’s strategy involved starting the race on the medium ultrasoft compound of tyre, and running deep into the grand prix, before switching to the faster hypersoft rubber, which he did on lap 38 of 61.

The Ferrari junior was aided by the fact that Sergio Pérez lost time stuck behind the Williams Martini Racing of Sergey Sirotkin, before the Mexican was handed a drive-through penalty for driving into the Russian.

Since he last scored points at the Red Bull Ring, Leclerc has suffered from a period of bad luck, including two-opening lap incidents, and a loose tyre after a pitstop in the British Grand Prix, and understandably he was pleased to end the streak.

Achieving this [a points finish] after the past few weekends feels good and shows our potential. I look forward to the next one [grand prix].”

The result consolidates Leclerc’s 15th place in the drivers’ standings on fifteen points, while team-mate Marcus Ericsson, who finished eleventh, is in eigteenth place, having scored a total of six points.

Sauber is ninth in the constructors’, with twenty-one points, fourteen ahead of the Williams squad and nine behind Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda. 

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Jake Nichol is a motorsport journalist writing about the Formula 1 world championship for The Checkered Flag. He is currently freelancing for Autosport, where his work includes IndyCar, NASCAR and UK-wide national race meetings.
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