Despite recording his fourth Formula 1 points finish of 2018, Charles Leclerc admits he is disappointed with himself for making a "small" mistake during the French Grand Prix.

The Sauber driver, who qualified a brilliant eighth on the Paul Ricard grid, avoided chaos at the start to find himself in sixth by the end of the opening lap. 

Leclerc was passed by Kimi Raikkonen and the recovering Sebastian Vettel but demonstrated strong pace as he mixed it up with the Haas and Renault drivers in a close battle over the tail-end of the points.  

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An off-track moment while chasing Kevin Magnussen’s Haas cost him further ground, but the Moneqasque driver - who has been linked with a Ferrari seat for 2019 following a string of impressive performances - fought back to claim 10th. 

“I’m happy but I’m always hard on myself,” Leclerc said. “I’m a little disappointed with myself today. At one point I was catching Kevin, we went into the DRS zone of Kevin. 

“I really wanted to do the best first sector I could to be as close as possible to try and overtake him, but I lost the car at Turn 2. Then we lost the position to Nico that came back because of this small mistake. 

“It’s like this. We’ve had a very good run at the last couple of races. Not many mistakes from both sides. Sometimes it happens. I will try to learn from it and come back stronger.”

Sauber’s performance across the weekend emphasised the significant strides made by the team in 2018, which have helped Leclerc seal four top-10 finishes in the last five rounds. 

“We are rebuilding the team,” he explained. “They are coming back or three from two - very, very hard years for them. For now, we are seeing the progress. This is nice to see. 

“I think there is still quite a lot to do. But today we managed to hit our balance in the perfect way. That has helped us to have such a performance.”



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