Ferrari slumped to sixth place in the constructors’ championship in a disastrous 2020 campaign that saw the Italian outfit record its worst result in F1 for four decades.

But it has enjoyed a resurgence in competitiveness this year and is in a close battle with McLaren over third place in the world championship, which it currently holds at the mid-season mark.

Leclerc has turned in a number of excellent displays for Ferrari this season and claimed back-to-back poles at Monaco and Baku, though he was unable to convert his impressive one-lap pace into victories.

The Monegasque came closest to taking Ferrari’s first win in two years at the British Grand Prix, having capitalised on Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s first-lap collision. Despite a brilliant drive, Leclerc had to settle with second at Silverstone after being passed by the recovering Hamilton three laps from the end.

Reflecting on the opening 11 races, Leclerc acknowledged the 2021 season has gone “better than expected” but insisted Ferrari’s revival has not come as a surprise to him.

“I think there is a lot of work behind and obviously I can see it whenever I go in Maranello, here at the track,” Leclerc explained. “So it's not a complete surprise.

"Obviously there is a big gain compared to last year, which is great to see, and it shows we are doing something right in the way we work. But it's not the end of the road, and we have as a target to be back on top.

"We are just not really focusing on expectations, we are just focusing on the work to do back in Maranello and at the track, trying to maximise everything, to be back to where we want to be as soon as possible.”

Leclerc finds himself seventh in the championship and three points behind new teammate Carlos Sainz, who has enjoyed an impressive adaptation at Maranello following his winter switch from McLaren.

And Leclerc feels he and Sainz have formed a strong partnership that is helping to push the team forward in its bid to return to winning ways again.

"I'm enjoying this season,” he said. “It’s not an easy phase for the team. Obviously, we are trying to reconstruct everything to be back on top as soon as possible. It was the first year with Carlos as a teammate.

"It's going very, very well. We are pushing each other, he's very, very competitive, which is great for me.

"And yeah, as a team, we are working very, very well. We are trying to use this momentum to gain this experience and be as ready as possible for next year, which is going to be a very important year.

"Not forgetting obviously this year and trying to maximise our results."