Charles Leclerc claimed that he doesn’t try to come up with excuses whenever he makes an error, and that he doesn’t understand drivers that do.
Ever since his Formula 1 debut with Alfa Romeo in 2018, Leclerc has notably been over critical of himself whenever he made a mistake, and has continued to be like this after he joined Ferrari, now on his fourth season with the Reds.
Asked in an interview with BBC Sport on how he deal with mistakes, he said: “I’m extremely tough with myself. So it is much more difficult to deal with my own errors than whenever it is the team, even though we are obviously one team and we lose and we win together.
Leclerc harsher on himself when he makes a mistake
“I’m always harsher whenever it’s me who does the mistake, and obviously France was one of those which which hurt quite a bit. Imola also a little bit, even though there weren’t many points involved because I could go back on track,” he added.
“But whenever I go through this tough time, I go through the same process as I was saying before, trying to analyse what was wrong. And it’s mostly mentally.
“You know, what is the mindset that I had at that particular moment of the race that pushed me to go over the limit and do a mistake?
“To speak about it seems quite easy, but it is not always easy to pinpoint exactly what was going on in your head at that moment.
“But I think this is a strength of mine and helps me to improve as a driver every time I make a mistake,” the Monegasque claimed.
Leclerc had a couple of errors this season, in Imola where he survive to finish sixth, but in France his crash from the lead ended his race.
“Every individual will react in a different way,” he reflected. This is my way of reacting to it. And I’ve always felt the benefit of being honest with yourself and just grow from it.
“I really don’t see the point of hiding it,” he insisted. “And sometimes it is so obvious to everybody that the mistake comes from driver, I just don’t understand the drivers that are trying to have excuses with the wind or whatsoever.
“I mean, sometimes it can happen. One out of 200 crashes, you’ll get something very strange happen. But I just don’t like to lose time with finding excuses, because that’s exactly when you start to lose time, and you just don’t go forward.
Honesty helps the team as a whole
Some mistakes the Ferrari driver suffered this year were caused by reliability problems from the team, as well as strategic errors, the latest being at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, and Leclerc believes his attitude when erring also benefits the group of people working around him.
“This is also good for the people that are working around me because they know that whenever I’m going to do a mistake, I’m gonna be very honest and I hope that is going to be the same for them,” he said. “So then everybody can just learn quicker and it is the case in Ferrari.”
Ferrari and Leclerc will now have a lot of contemplating to do during F1’s summer break, to try and find a way to claw back the gap to Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
Verstappen leads Leclerc by 80 points in the Drivers’ Championship, as Red Bull lead Ferrari by 97 in the Constructors’ Standings.