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"Extreme motivation" led to first lap crashes: Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc is looking to cut down on the first lap crashes this season. Photo: Joe Portlock/Getty Images.
Charles Leclerc is looking to cut down on the first lap crashes this season. Photo: Joe Portlock/Getty Images.
Modified 26 Mar 2021

Charles Leclerc won 2 podiums in an uncompetitive Ferrari last year. However, Leclerc also squandered a few great qualifying sessions by crashing on the first lap. The Monegasque blamed his over-eagerness for the early collisions.

He infamously crashed into teammate Sebastian Vettel at the Styrian Grand Prix 2020 moments after the green light. Later in the season, he wasted his electric qualifying performance of P4 at the Sakhir Grand Prix by clashing at the start with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.

Looking back, Charles Leclerc has admitted that most of the incidents were because of his over-eagerness in an uncompetitive Ferrari. Ahead of the first race of the season in Bahrain, Charles Leclerc spoke about his extreme motivation to push for results that led to the Monegasque taking too many risks at the start of the race.

"It was definitely a difficult moment for the team and just I was extremely motivated to do something special – and that motivation sometimes translated into crashes on the track, which was not great."

Speaking about the reason for his eagerness, Charles Leclerc said:

“Last year, if you take here for example [at the Sakhir Grand Prix], I was fighting with the Red Bull which it wouldn't have been possible to keep behind for the rest of the race, so that was a bit silly to have a crash at that point of the race, for these type of positions that we wouldn’t have been able to keep anyway."

Leclerc asserted that he has now learned from his mistakes, and hopefully for the Scuderia, it will make him a better driver.

“But as I've done in the past with my mistakes, I've always tried to understand why I've done them, and tried to not do them again,” he added. “So I will still be as motivated to try and do great results, and we will have to try and see where we are at exactly to adapt my aggressivity on track. But of course, I will try not to reproduce these types of mistakes.”

However, the Monegasque also said that his aggression has helped Ferrari get better results on several occasions, especially with a slow car.

“On many other occasions, [my aggression] helped us to achieve better result, so I will choose my fights better, but if I have to be aggressive at one point to get better results, I will do it."

Charles Leclerc: Signs are positive for the 2021 season

When questioned about the prospects of the 2021 season, Charles Leclerc talked about how the car has improved in almost all areas compared to last year.

“Let's wait and see where we are [in 2021]. I think there are positive signs already from the test and then we'll see for sure from Saturday onwards."

Speaking about specific improvements on the car, Charles Leclerc said:

“In the balance [of the car] itself, in the way it behaves in the different parts of the corners, so from entry to exit, I think it’s a little bit better, a bit easier to drive, and this is nice already. And then we've had some positive signs. But… it’s quite difficult to judge until we put everything on the limit in qualifying.”

Ferrari had a poor season in 2020 and tumbled down the pecking order. The Prancing Horse have made noticeable improvements to their engine. Only time will tell if Charles and his new teammate, Carlos Sainz, can challenge Red Bull and Mercedes.

Published 26 Mar 2021, 15:38 IST
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