Charles Leclerc believes he overreacted to Ferrari’s strategy in the Singapore Grand Prix and has “a lot to learn” about handling such a situation in future.
Ferrari pitted Sebastian Vettel from third place in Singapore one lap before bringing in race leader Leclerc, and the undercut meant Vettel took the lead and went on to win from his team-mate. After dropping to P2, Leclerc complained about the situation over the team radio and asked to be allowed to try and pass Vettel during Safety Car periods, but upon reflection, the 21-year-old says he will react differently in future.
“Definitely the radio messages ,” Leclerc said. “I believe that my reaction was well over what it should be, and that shows that I’ve still got a lot to learn. In this situation, there was absolutely no need to be like this. The team has done the right thing. We finished first and second. We wouldn’t have finished first and second with another strategy, and that’s what matters the most. On that, I’ve definitely got a lot to learn and a lot to improve so that won’t happen again in the future.
“I think the rules are pretty clear. It’s always, and it always needs to be, for the benefit of the team, and that won’t change. No changes on that side.”
Leclerc says he will try and keep his frustration off the radio if possible, rather than venting to his team.
“In the car, it’s always very difficult. There is a lot of adrenaline. I wake up in the morning thinking about victory, I go to sleep thinking about victory, so sometimes it might be hard, but yeah, I just need to control myself more in these situations, and… how can I say it politely? Just shut up! I will learn from this, and I will try for it to not happen again.”
The incident came on a day where Ferrari surprised many with its pace, and Leclerc said the team performance at the last race makes him more optimistic about its chances in Sochi.
“We have been very surprised in Singapore by how quick we were,” he admitted. “Whether it will be the same story here or not, I don’t know. Definitely if we wouldn’t have had the Singapore weekend, we would not arrive here thinking we are the favorites. Mercedes have always been very quick, they have won all years here, so it’s going to be very difficult to beat them. But seeing the performance in Singapore, we are a bit more confident. Let’s see if we can challenge them.”