Sauber’s Charles Leclerc had a good fight with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in the 2018 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix with Monegasque prevailing to end as the best of the rest leader.
The future Ferrari driver made it well in the Top 10 along with Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson at Sochi on Saturday. But he lost out to Magnussen and Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon to be seventh for Sunday’s race.
The Monegasque started well in the race as he got by Ocon for sixth and then made a bold a move around the outside in Turn 3 to get by Magnussen for fifth position – all on the opening two laps of the race.
Once ahead, he could pull away from the pack especially his immediate rivals to keep track position for the remainder of the race. He did lose out to Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo but was still classified seventh.
It was Leclerc’s first time that he finished as the best of the rest in a race beating all the other midfield drivers which helped Sauber close the gap to Toro Rosso to just three points in the constructors’ championship with five races remaining.
Leclerc particularly enjoyed his fight with Magnussen, who is known for his aggressive driving style – as Ocon found out in the race. “It was quite on the limit but it was fun to do and Magnussen stayed fair, so it was good to see,” said Leclerc to the media.
“It was quite on the limit. It is quite an easy flat out corner in qualifying but in the race, especially on the outside, it is not so very easy but we made it both and I am very happy about it. It was an amazing race.
“I don’t think we could have done any better when you see who are the Top 6 – the three top teams. So, best of the rest which is the first time it has happened [for me], so I am extremely happy about it.
“I think we did everything perfect, strategy was very good and the balance of the car was also very good. So, very happy.” Both the Haas driver and even Force India were surprised with the pace of the Sauber.
In fact, Leclerc was the only driver who wasn’t lapped by the Top 6 cars and finished nearly 17 seconds ahead of Magnussen. The Monegasque though is still 15th in the drivers’ standings with 21 points after 15 races.