Leclerc: I can be in the fight for a strong result

Charles Leclerc has revealed himself as a driver that will drive the wheels off anything you give him, in a Gilles Villeneuve kind of way, and he is having to do so with the below-par Ferrari SF1000.

While his illustrious four-time Formula 1 Word Champions teammate Sebastian Vettel struggles to come to grips with Maranello’s worst car in years, Charles rolls up his sleeves and makes it work.

In qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix on Saturday, the Monaco Kid made the most of some positive updates bolted onto the car, for Portimao, to claim fourth place on the grid; his teammate will line-up 15th.

Charles said in the team report, “I am very happy with my lap and I think we managed to get everything out of the car today. Congratulations to the whole team for the great job they have done, both in Maranello and here at the track.

“The latest updates we introduced here have also added a bit of performance to our car and the last few qualifying sessions show we are heading in the right direction.

“Already yesterday, I had a good feeling about Saturday, while there are still various things we need to look at before the race. But I am very happy to have got through Q2 on the Medium tyre, because I’m sure it’s the ideal tyre for the start of the race.

“In Germany, we suffered on the Soft tyres in the low temperatures, while here it’s not as cold and we have the Mediums. I need to get a good start and if I manage that, I can be in the fight for a strong result,” added the 23-year-old.

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies confirmed that, unlike previous updates, this latest package bolted onto the car is a step in the right direction, “We brought some more updates here for the SF1000 and, from what we have seen so far, they appear to have delivered a bit more performance.

“We know it’s nothing major, but it’s enough to be fully in the very close fight for the places right behind the top three drivers. The important thing is that it shows our development work is going in the right direction, for the end of this season, but more importantly for the next,” added Mekies.