There were contrasting emotions for the two Sauber drivers at Interlagos. For Charles Leclerc, Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix proved to be an ‘amazing’ afternoon, after the Ferrari-bound driver enhanced his glowing reputation with an impressive P7 – but team mate Marcus Ericsson was left to rue an ‘extremely disappointing’ race that promised so much…
Both drivers were in scintillating form in qualifying, Leclerc producing a magnificent, last-gasp effort in Q2 to put his C37 in the top-10 shootout while Ericsson went even better, the Swede going about his business quietly before securing a career-best P7 (which became sixth due to Daniel Ricciardo’s grid penalty).
Come race day, though, it was Leclerc who spearheaded Sauber’s challenge for ‘best of the rest’ honours – behind the top three teams Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari – as the Ferrari protege kept his nose clean at the start and then managed his tyres en route to securing his ninth points finish of what has been a remarkable rookie season.
“It was amazing. Again, best of the rest, (and we had) amazing pace. At the beginning we were following the others in front,” said Leclerc.
“Obviously they were fighting but I wished the fight would have lasted a bit more for us to get closer but it didn’t. But anyway, extremely happy about today.
“The supersoft went very well, we could push on them, and the balance was good. We had a bit of blistering at the end on the supersoft and on medium also at the end, so it was a bit tricky, but everything on the limit and everything perfect.”