Charles Leclerc describes the British Grand Prix as the most fun he’s had racing in Formula 1 after taking a deliberately aggressive approach based on lessons learned from his battle with Max Verstappen in Austria.
Verstappen overtook Leclerc with three laps remaining to win at the Red Bull Ring, with contact between the two being investigated but going unpunished. Leclerc said after that incident that he would be more aggressive now he had a clearer picture of the type of racing that is allowed, and was true to his word in similar fights with Verstappen at Silverstone where the pair fought over third place.
“That was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had in my Formula 1 career,” Leclerc said after finishing on the podium. “Well, it’s a short career, only one year and a half, but it was definitely very, very fun from inside the car.
“I think that Austria was quite an eye-opener for me to understand how far we could go and what was accepted, and I’m very happy in the end to race like this. I think every driver wants to race hard, and that’s what we did during most of the race. It was very, very fun – always borderline, but I think always in the rules, and very, very enjoyable from the car.
“I was definitely more aggressive. At least I know how far I can go. I think the battle with Max was borderline, but it stayed there and never went over. It was very fun to fight that way for such a long part of the race.”
Although he found himself battling with Verstappen for the second time in as many races, Leclerc said his approach would have been the same with any other driver on the grid.
“There was nothing personal, but after Austria I think if the stewards accept us to race that way, I’m more than happy to race like this, and that’s what I did for this weekend,” he said.
“Nothing special, I just raced harder than normal just because I feel like in the last two races, or maybe a bit before, Formula 1 wants hard racing. I think we are pushing as drivers to have hard racing, that’s what we enjoy the most, and that’s what I did.”
As much as he enjoyed the battle with Verstappen, Leclerc said he noticed a clear Ferrari weakness compared to its main rivals when it came to tire usage during the race.
“I think we have got some work to do on our race pace and try to keep these tires as good as Mercedes and Red Bull are doing. I think we are a little bit struggling with that,” he said.
“The best move was probably the one on Max on the outside in Copse. I think he just passed me and I passed him back around the outside of Copse. That was definitely one of the most exciting parts of my race.”