Leclerc defends 'safe pass' on Vettel in Bahrain

  • 12 Apr 2019 03:08
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Charles Leclerc has defended his decision to overtake Sebastian Vettel for the lead of the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago, despite being told to stay behind. 

The Monegasque driver was informed to stay behind his Ferrari teammate for two laps, but on the start/finish straight, he pulled alongside Vettel and regained the lead he lost in the opening metres of the race.

Leclerc stated that he had a big pace advantage, and "didn't see myself" tucking in behind for second place.

"As I’ve shown in Australia the interest of the team is extremely important,” said Leclerc ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

“But in this particular situation I think I had quite a big pace advantage at this moment of the race and I had the opportunity in the straight and I just didn’t see myself lifting and staying behind.

“So I just went for the opportunity. It was a safe pass and I went for it.

“I think we had good pace all weekend long. I was very confident with the car, very at ease with the car during all the weekend. Seb was a little bit less. So I just focused on my race. I had the opportunity on lap six and I went for it.”

Leclerc failed to take the victory after an engine problem spoiled his chances late on. Despite the impressive pace he displayed throughout the weekend, he has played down his chances of winning the world championship.

“After the first race nobody sees me as a title contender," he said. "After the second race everyone sees me as a title contender. So things can go very quick in Formula 1.

“I need to focus on what I’m doing in the car, try to work as hard as possible and trying to do the best job in the car and outside the car and then I’m pretty sure the results will come.

“Then we’ll see. We are only at the third race in the season, it’s very early on. We’ll see how we get on in the next few races. But hopefully we keep the momentum from Bahrain going.”


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Formula 1 Calendar - 2019

Date
Grand Prix
Circuit
-
Spain
-
Spain
15 - Mar 17
Australia
29 - Mar 31
Bahrain
-
Bahrain
12 - Apr 14
China
26 - Apr 28
Azerbaijan
10 - May 12
Spain
24 - May 26
Monaco
7 - Jun 9
Canada
21 - Jun 23
France
28 - Jun 30
Austria
12 - Jul 14
United Kingdom
26 - Jul 28
Germany
2 - Aug 4
Hungary
30 - Sep 1
Belgium
6 - Sep 8
Italy
20 - Sep 22
Singapore
27 - Sep 29
Russian
11 - Oct 13
Japan
25 - Oct 27
Mexico
1 - Nov 3
United States of America
15 - Nov 17
Brazil
29 - Dec 1
United Arab Emirates
See full schedule

Formula 1 Calendar - 2019

Date
Grand Prix & Circuit
15 - Mar 17
Australia Albert Park
29 - Mar 31
12 - Apr 14
26 - Apr 28
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
10 - May 12
24 - May 26
Monaco Monte Carlo
7 - Jun 9
21 - Jun 23
France Paul Ricard
28 - Jun 30
Austria Red Bull Ring
12 - Jul 14
United Kingdom Silverstone
26 - Jul 28
Germany Hockenheimring
2 - Aug 4
Hungary Hungaroring
30 - Sep 1
6 - Sep 8
Italy Monza
20 - Sep 22
27 - Sep 29
Russian Sochi Autodrom
11 - Oct 13
25 - Oct 27
1 - Nov 3
United States of America Circuit of the Americas
15 - Nov 17
Brazil Interlagos
29 - Dec 1
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
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