Leclerc capable of victory for F1 world championship

Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc is capable of winning the Formula 1 world championship according to Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.

The Monegasque driver heads the title after two rounds, having won the opening race of the year in Bahrain and finishing second behind Max Verstappen last weekend in Saudi Arabia.

It’s been a strong start for Ferrari, which sits atop the constructors’ championship with more than double the points of its nearest rival, and Leclerc the team’s in-form driver.

“I think he is [capable of fighting for the world championship],” acknowledged Binotto following Sunday’s race in Jeddah.

“But [that’s] something on which I was expecting, so when renewing as well with him in the last year for up to 2024 it’s because we know what he’s capable of.

“He’s simply demonstrating that he’s capable of fighting for the championship.

“No doubt he’s got the talent, he’s got the capacity, he’s a very good racer, and very happy with what he’s proving in these two races.”

Leclerc is pleased with his start to the season, though is coy on his chances of the title with just two races of a 23-event calendar complete.

“I’m quite happy about the start of the season for sure. I’m working well, with the team and the preparation for the first race was very good,” he said.

“I feel good in general, but there’s definitely more to come. The thing I’m happy about is not really the performance, but I know exactly where I still need to work and what I need to improve to unlock more performance.

“So yes, on that, I’m happy, then whether it will be enough or not to win the world championship, I have no idea. It’s still very early on in the season, but let’s say that it’s a very good start of the season.”

Should he remain in contention, it would be Leclerc’s first Formula 1 title bid.

For the moment, his likely rival looks to be Verstappen, who last year triumphed in one of the most combative F1 title fights in history.

Despite that relative dearth of experience, the Ferrari pilot is confident in his own ability to mount a serious challenge, and hasn’t taken much notice of what’s happened in previous years.

“I actually didn’t watch that much all of these battles,” Leclerc admitted.

“I mean, some of the races I’ve watched [but] I think I learned more from my own experiences.

“Every drivers have their own driving style. I have my own one,” he added.

“I think in a wheel-to-wheel battle I am quite strong and you always tried to be better.

“And Max, I know him quite well, since karting already. We’ve had some great battles and we’ve grown up together, which I think also helped us grow in our own way.”

Leclerc heads into the next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix with a 12-point buffer over team-mate Carlos Sainz in the drivers’ standings, and a 20-point advantage over Verstappen.

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