Clear has worked with some of F1’s greatest world champions such as Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve. 

In an interview in the latest episode of F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Clear explained what has made Leclerc so impressive during his time with Ferrari since 2019.

“If you say ‘these are the drivers I’ve worked with, put your finger on the one element that really shines through’, [it’s] mental strength certainly with Charles.

“He’s quite astoundingly strong mentally. It’s easy to forget simply because he is who he is and what he’s done in the last two or three years that coming into Ferrari as an official Ferrari driver at that age, that’s got to be intimidating hasn’t it? It’s intimidating for Sebastian Vettel when he comes here with four world championships.

“There’s time when he hasn’t been the quickest driver, there’s times when he’s struggled, he’s had races when he’s chewed through his tyres twice as quickly as his team-mate, so it’s not just that he’s quick.

“He’s super quick and we’ve seen how good a qualifier he is. I think qualifying is a good example of mental strength because actually qualifying is an occasion where you’ve got to perform.

“It’s a bit like taking the penalty at the end of the Euros, that is pressure. You’ve got to deliver now, there’s no ‘that wasn’t great but the next one will be all right’. “Qualifying is qualifying and the fact he’s quick in qualifying is another manifestation of his mental strength.

“But [it’s in] all sorts of behind the scenes conversations and stresses that he’s been under that I’m really, really impressed at how little they impact him come Sunday afternoon.”

While Leclerc has only been in F1 since 2018, Clear feels he’s ready to mount a title charge up against Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen given that he has been able to bounce back from mistakes.

“My initial reaction is ‘God, yes, he is absolutely ready,” said Clear when asked if Leclerc is ready to fight for the championship. You have to balance that with [the fact] there is no substitute for actually being in that position. That is a different level of pressure.

“But all I can say is he’s managed and coped with every other level of pressure so far. And yeah he’s made mistakes, but all drivers are going to make mistakes. We know very well that Max has made lots of mistakes in his earlier career, but nobody’s telling me that Max isn’t ready to win a championship. So far, he’s met every challenge and been up for it and been strong enough to move forward from those mistakes.

“If you’re put in a position where you’re going to be challenging for a championship, it’s going to be against Max, it’s going to be against Lewis, it’s going to be tough. You are going to slip up, you are going to make a mistake, you are going to drop some points. But will he cope with that? Yes he absolutely will cope with that.

“He’s not going to crumble when he drops it in qualifying and has to start from P13 or whatever. He’ll just swallow it and deal with it and the next race he’ll come back and put it on pole.”