Charles Leclerc speaks on his biggest learning of 2021 F1 season where he learned about race management where he sacrificed a bit of qualifying pace.
For Leclerc, 2021 was a definite improvement on 2020 as it was for the Ferrari team as a whole after a dreadful year. Hard to believe he is coming into his fourth season with the Maranello concern. Building up his experience and by the end of 2022, he should have entered approx 100 Grands Prix.
As per the top, a far better 2021 than 2020 in terms of results and performance. But it’s not just in terms of performance where there was an improvement, Leclerc’s actual race-craft improved and it too was quite noticeable. The popular Monegasque takes up the story in greater detail himself.
“I learned about race management in general,” said Leclerc. “Since early 2020, I’ve started to say it’s one of my weaknesses. After 2019 where I’ve had a lot of good qualifying. Then in the race, I was struggling a bit more. We were struggling a bit more as a team. As a driver, I was struggling more than others. I put a lot of work into it in 2020. I got much better. I think in 2021 it’s actually one of my strengths now.
“I feel good whenever we need to do some tyre management. I’m doing a good job. But there is still a lot more to work on, maybe a balance from my qualifying to the race that I probably didn’t find yet and sometimes I sacrificed a little bit more my qualifying to be better in the race as we’ve seen a few times this season. But it’s a balance that I’m working on to try and get the perfect balance in between quali and race,” summed up Leclerc.
In his opinion, Leclerc reckons his race management is one of his strengths now but is also working on the transition from qualifying to race. In the season just gone, his qualifying wasn’t always 100% committed on his part. He knows and recognised same. Something to work on for 2022.
Ferrari once more are in the ascendancy. Best of the rest in 2021, new rules and regulations might work in their favour to bridge the gap to Mercedes and Red Bull next season. Leclerc knows too what he wants and what he needs to do.
The story was written by Neil Farell
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