Leclerc Improvements Through 2019 a Surprise to Ferrari, admits Binotto

by Paul Hensby

Mattia Binotto says Charles Leclerc has been a revelation during the first half of the 2019 season, with the development of the Monegasque racer a surprise even to those within the Scuderia Ferrari team.

Leclerc was brought into the Ferrari fold at the beginning of 2019 as a replacement for Kimi Räikkönen, with the twenty-one-year-old making the jump after just one season in Formula 1, having raced for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team in 2018.

Whilst he is still searching for his first victory in Formula 1, Leclerc has twice put his SF90 onto pole position this season and has stood on the podium on five occasions, with his best result coming in the Austrian Grand Prix when he finished second to Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

Binotto, the Team Principal of Ferrari, says it is pleasing to see just much how Leclerc is improving in 2019, and he foresees even more improvements across the remainder of the campaign.

“If I look at the first half of the season, I think [it’s] very positive, the way how Charles is growing,” said Binotto to Motorsport.com.  “Because there was a lot of expectations at first, a lot of pressure on him, on his shoulders, because obviously driving a Ferrari is driving a Ferrari, and while you are so young.

“He’s a talent, we knew it, but I think he’s really learning from mistakes and that’s more important. Even his collaboration with the team, his way of supporting the team in the development of the car, is improving race by race, day by day, that’s another positive of the first half.

“We knew that he was a talent, we knew that he was very strong when attacking or defending, because we could’ve seen that in F3 [GP3] and F2.

“I think if there’s anything that’s surprising us is how much he’s improving through the races. And I think race after race, his weekend is becoming more solid and solid, and I think he can even do better than what’s he’s doing.”

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