Charles Leclerc admits he needs to keep his own expectations in check after scoring his first points of the season with sixth place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Sauber driver arrived in Formula 1 with plenty of interest due to the nature with which he dominated last year’s Formula 2 championship, and had shown a number of promising signs in the opening three rounds but coupled those with mistakes that meant he had yet to score a point. In Baku, Leclerc was faultless and avoided incident to come home sixth, but is wary of expecting to be able to repeat such a performance on a regular basis.
“I think this is something I need to be careful of because being realistic this is not going to happen every race,” Leclerc said. “We have made everything right [in Baku] and everything went very well but nobody should expect the same race next time. It would be stupid.
“We will work towards trying to get a result as good as this one but as I said it was a combination of everything and we shouldn’t expect it but we will work hard to get a similar result in the future.”
Although appreciating it will be tough to repeat the Azerbaijan result, Leclerc sees his first points as having added significance because they show he is able to capitalize when an opportunity to score presents itself.
“I think it is very important and also for me, for my confidence, it is good to have one good one where we put everything together and we obviously have been helped by the circumstances but we took our opportunity which is great.
“I’ve had two very difficult first grand prix and then Shanghai for me was a lot more positive, then in the race we were not great. OK, it happens – we haven’t put everything together but to be finally coming [to Baku] and getting our first points is good.”
Despite his impressive result, Leclerc also sees one key area where Sauber can improve in order to open up the potential for more points in future.
“Our race pace is stronger than our qualifying pace at the moment and in FP2 we really saw that. Now we need to investigate that to make our low-fuel pace better. If we manage to do that then we will be very competitive, because our race pace at the beginning of the race was really great, then at the end with low fuel we struggled a bit more. But P6 at the end is crazy.”