Charles Leclerc says it was important for him to get some relaxation in during the mid-season summer break, even if the place he chose saw a number of his fellow Formula 1 drivers join him there!
The Scuderia Ferrari driver arrives in Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix on the back of a first lap retirement in Hungary after being caught up in an incident involving Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo at turn one.
And Leclerc left Hungary for the break looking to spend some quality time with his family and friends, so he comes back to the racetrack refreshed and ready to attack in the second half of the campaign.
“Even if Mykonos might not have been exactly the best place to switch off from Formula 1, as half the grid was on holiday in that part of the world, but I got to spend some days with my family and friends and that was the most important thing,” said Leclerc.
“I’m refreshed and relaxed, ready for the second half of the season.”
Leclerc says it is special to return to Spa-Francorchamps having secured his maiden Formula 1 victory at the circuit back in 2019, and he hopes the SF21 will be competitive this weekend as he bids to return to the podium for only the second time in 2021.
“For me, it’s special, because it’s here I took my first win,” said Leclerc. “On paper the track should not be particularly well suited to our car, however this year we have had some positive surprises, so let’s see how it goes.
“We have to make sure we get the best out of the SF21.”
“I’d say it’s one of the last remaining real tracks on the calendar” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. also enjoyed the summer break, although he quickly regretted eating foods he is usually forbidden to eat during that first week off.
Sainz arrives in Belgium on the back of a fourth career podium finish in Hungary, and he believes the Spa-Francorchamps is one of the last remaining ‘real’ tracks on the Formula 1 calendar.
“I spent quality time on a boat with the people who are dearest to me,” said Sainz. “I was also able to catch up with my dogs and play with them, which I always find very relaxing. In the first week, I ate a lot of things that are generally forbidden for a sportsperson, like hamburgers and pizza.
“Then, in the second week I concentrated on working out in the gym, when I regretted overdoing it with the food…
“I’d say it’s one of the last remaining real tracks on the calendar,” said Sainz about Spa. “There are some extreme sections and corners where you can really make the difference.”
Sainz inherited the podium in Hungary after Sebastian Vettel was disqualified from second place, and it was the second time that he has moved up into the top three after the misfortune of others. He also inherited a third-place finish in the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton was penalised for a collision with Alexander Albon.
“I found out while I was in a restaurant with some members of the team, as we had stayed on in Budapest for the tyre test,” said Sainz. “So, I ordered a bottle of champagne and we allowed ourselves a toast.
“It’s the second time out of four that I’ve not been able to celebrate a third place on the podium… It doesn’t really matter, because what’s important is the result.”