Charles Leclerc insists he is not giving up on the drivers’ championship yet this season despite heading into the Canadian Grand Prix 80 points adrift of Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari’s pre-season showing raised hopes of the team mounting a serious title challenge after five consecutive championship doubles for Mercedes, but race performances have been largely lacking. Strong pace in Bahrain and Azerbaijan did not translate into victories, but Leclerc — who retired from the Monaco Grand Prix after contact with Nico Hulkenberg (pictured below) — says it’s too early to give up on this year’s championship.
“No, not yet — I never wave goodbye until it’s done,” Leclerc said. “Of course it’s been a difficult start to the season. We definitely expected more but we don’t need to wave goodbye yet. We need to push until the end and that’s what we are doing: Trying to understand our mistakes, trying not to do them again and improve from there, and I’m pretty sure the results will come.
“To be completely honest my target is always the same: To try and maximize our potential with our car and this doesn’t change. I will just give it everything every race and we’ll see how it ends.”
Leclerc admits he has made some mistakes personally this season, including crashing in Q2 in Azerbaijan when he looked a contender for pole position.
“Well there’s definitely been a few mistakes. There’s a change of approach when you arrive in Ferrari compared to a year like last year (at Alfa Romeo) when you can give it all from Q1 to Q3. But as we’ve seen in Baku maybe it was not very important to give everything in Q2, because we definitely had the potential to do a lot better in Q3.
“Anyway, there’s been a few mistakes on my side and I’ve definitely learned from them. Now I’m looking forward trying not to reproduce them and hopefully there are better times to come.”
With the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve placing an emphasis on straight-line performance, Leclerc is confident Ferrari should be stronger than at recent races in Montreal.
“It’s definitely a high-speed track a lot more than it is in Monaco, so our top speed normally is something positive for us. Hopefully we can take advantage from it and have a very good result here.”