Formula 1

Charles Leclerc: ‘A great lap means taking every corner perfectly”

2 Mins read
Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc is targeting another strong Grand Prix at this weekend’s returning Japanese Grand Prix, after finishing second at the Singapore Grand Prix recently.

The Monegasque driver had qualified on pole at the Marina Bay Circuit, but slipped behind Sergio Pérez into Turn One. Leclerc sat behind the Mexican for the majority of the race, but was unable to find a way past.

This weekend presents a new opportunity for the Scuderia Ferrari driver at the Suzuka International Racing Course, a venue he’s previously finished no higher than sixth place at. He’ll be expecting considerably better than that this weekend, with it looking like a venue which should suit the F1-75. Leclerc does need a good result in order to remain second in the Drivers’ Championship, with just two points separating himself and Pérez.

Leclerc knows that for a good weekend to happen the team need to work on “how we operate” on Sundays, something which has regularly let them down. Nevertheless he’s excited to get back on the circuit that everyone loves, and to drive in front of the “passionate” fans.

“That’s the effect being at this track has on you. Driving here is really enjoyable, especially the first sector with the sequence of esses. Actually, in general it’s fantastic, because it is particularly demanding. Putting together a great lap means taking every corner perfectly.

“I think we will be competitive. Although so too will our main rivals, for whom this is a sort of home race. But I believe our car has great potential and it’s just a matter of improving how we operate on Sundays, to confirm the level we have usually shown on Saturdays.

“The politeness and composure of the Japanese fans contrasts with how passionate they are, wearing very unusual hats and clothes. But they are all very knowledgeable and so it is nice to race in front of them. I hope that Carlos and I can give the guys we have seen already today at the track and in the grandstands with the Prancing Horse flags something to cheer about.”

“The team deserves at least one more win” – Carlos Sainz Jr.

Carlos Sainz Jr. will also be looking for another strong result this weekend, after fending off Lewis Hamilton for third at Singapore last Sunday.

This weekend’s Japanese GP will, of course, be the Spaniard’s first as a Ferrari driver, with himself having been a McLaren F1 Team driver the last time the championship raced in the Asian country. His previous best result at Suzuka is fifth place, which he actually achieved in 2019 for McLaren.

Sainz is very upbeat ahead of the circuit which for him is full of “really great” corners, with the Spanish driver targeting a second win of the season this weekend, something he feels the team deserve.

“It’s too hard to choose, as they are all really great and very demanding,” Sainz said when asked what his favourite corner at Suzuka was.

“It’s an ‘old-skool’ track, the type that makes motor racing wonderful. On paper, this new generation of cars look like being really fun to drive at Suzuka. 

“I think the team deserves at least one more win this season, because I really believe that, in terms of potential, this is Ferrari’s best season in the hybrid era. It would be the ideal way to prepare for next season.

“The passion is similar to what we feel from our Italian and European supporters, but the culture is so different that you can see some unusual sights, such as fans wearing full race suits and helmets inside the paddock, as if they were one of us drivers.”

Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
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