Leclerc not expecting repeat of Monaco pole but says Ferrari target is to top midfield in Hungary
The Hungaroring is often dubbed ‘Monaco without the walls’ but Charles Leclerc has played down suggestions that this weekend he will spring a repeat of his shock home pole position – but accepted that Ferrari could be set for a “very, very positive” weekend in Hungary.
Fresh from a British Grand Prix podium – which was almost a win but for Lewis Hamilton’s late pass for the lead – Leclerc has brushed away his disappointment and is targeting a midfield-topping race in Hungary. Monaco comparisons in mind, Leclerc was asked on Thursday whether he was brimming with confidence for ths weekend's race.
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He replied: “I don’t know. I feel like it can be a strong race for us, I don’t think we will be at the level of performance as we’ve seen in Monaco, but I hope we can at least be on top of the midfield which is the reality of where we’re fighting this year.
“So this is the most important target for this weekend and I think we are quite confident we can achieve that if we do a good job. It’s not a particularly strong track for myself as a driver but I will try to make the best job possible,” he added.
While Ferrari are expected to perform here, Leclerc expanded on why the Hungaroring isn’t a “particularly strong track” for himself, having finished 11th here in 2020 after a P4 finish in 2019.
“It’s a very difficult track, very technical, you need to be very, very smooth,” he said. “I tend to have a bit more of an aggressive driving style – and it looks like I’m struggling a bit more here compared to my team mates in the past – so I will work on that and try to maximise this weekend,” he explained.
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And as for his frustration at losing out on a victory in the British Grand Prix, where he held off the Mercedes on medium tyres in his first stint before Hamilton rallied and passed him for victory late on, Leclerc seems to have put that in his rear view mirror.
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“I don’t reflect on it too much; I just started to focus on here, and that’s it - tried to forget what happened and obviously it was frustrating because the win was so close and to lose the win so close to the end helps,” he said.
“But on the other hand, there’s plenty of positives: being on the pace of the Mercedes, especially in the first stint; the second stint went a bit more in line with what we expected – but all in all it’s been [Silverstone was] a very, very positive weekend for us,” he concluded.