Charles Leclerc says he’s “never thought about” the increase in profile and stardom which comes with racing for Ferrari in Formula 1 as he hopes to focus on his own driving while being praised from all areas.

The 21-year-old has made an eye-catching transition at Ferrari stepping up from Alfa Romeo after just one season in F1, while he’s proven to be a strong match for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel having been cruelly denied a maiden Grand Prix victory with a late engine issue at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Since his graduation to Ferrari Leclerc has received acclaim from all sides, including both Vettel and reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, and looks set to become the sport’s next biggest star – something the Monegasque driver denies has ever crossed his mind.

“I have never thought about it,” Leclerc said. “We will see how it goes but I don’t think you can really prepare for it. If it happens then it’s a good time for me and means I am doing a good job in the car, but we will see.

“It’s always very nice to hear compliments from Lewis or from Seb or from the greats of the sport.

“This is very nice to hear but on the other hand I don’t spend too much time thinking about it, just trying to get better every race and focus on the weaknesses on my side, from the last Grand Prix and try to fix them and get better for the next one.”

Leclerc, who salvaged a maiden F1 podium in Bahrain following his engine problem, sits just one point behind Ferrari teammate Vettel in the early drivers’ championship in fifth place.

The Ferrari youngster arugably lost out to team order calls at the Chinese Grand Prix having bolted past Vettel for third place on the opening lap before being told to let the German driver overtake him and then falling behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in fifth place.

 

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