Charles Leclerc says he no longer feels intimidated in the environment of the Ferrari Formula 1 team and reckons added confidence has boosted his recent performances.

Leclerc was promoted to the Scuderia to replace Kimi Raikkonen and partner four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel following an impressive rookie season with Sauber in 2018.

The Monegasque sits fifth in the 2019 standings and is one place and 24 points adrift of his teammate. Starting at the French Grand Prix, Leclerc enjoyed a run of three consecutive races in which he outperformed Vettel, before the German hit back at Hockenheim and the Hungaroring

“Arriving in such a big team, when I arrived it was only my second year in Formula 1 and you are a little bit intimidated,” Leclerc said.

“I was a little bit intimidated and just to arrive and straight away say I want this, this and this was not the way I wanted to start this relationship.

“So at first, I wanted to understand the car, try to adapt my driving as much as possible to the car.

“I think at one point I managed to do good things adapting my driving style but then I felt there was more performance by trying to put the car a little bit more into my direction and this has helped the performance a bit since then.

“I think before France, it was more myself that was adapting to the car,” he added.

“After that I think changed a little bit the approach, and I think I adapted the car a little bit which enabled to drive me a little bit more naturally, which helped me.”

Despite making some high-profile errors - most notably crashing during Baku qualifying while in contention for pole position – Leclerc has been close to his maiden victory on multiple occasions.

An engine issue cruelly robbed him after a dominant performance in Bahrain, while he was passed late on by Max Verstappen having controlled much of the race in Austria. Leclerc remains confident of taking his first win for Ferrari before the end of the campaign.

“The target since the beginning of the season has been to get my first victory,” he explained.

“It’s not an obsession and I am trying to focus on myself and improve step-by-step after races and then I’m pretty sure success will come.

“We are working very hard and to work on improving where we are at the moment is the main target for the second half of the season.”

 

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