How did Leclerc improve so much in one race?

Azerbaijan Grand Prix is always chaotic and gives unusual results each year. That is the part of the charm of street racing’s unpredictability.

This time around, Charles Leclerc and Force India’s Sergio Perez were its recipients. The Sauber driver had one more reason behind his success other than the chaos all around him.

The rookie moved away from his GP3/F2 style and that change paid off.

Leclerc’s first three races were troubled as he found it hard to adjust to the new car and its setup.  Since he won GP3 and F2 one after the other, it was hard for the rookie to leave behind that style of driving.

At Baku, he changed his setup and driving style and he got into Q2 for the first time, and scored his first race points.

“In GP3 and Formula 2 cars you drive with a lot of oversteer and this is the way to go fast,” he said.

“I did not expect to go quicker when going towards an understeer set-up in F1, but this seems the way these cars work.

“I just need to get on with it.”

The Monégasque admitted his setup is much closer to his teammate Marcus Ericsson’s setup after “quite a lot of mistakes in the first three races”.

He said: “I improved a lot because of the approach we had with the set-up.

“We went to a more understeering car for me. My car was way too unpredictable and was very difficult to put everything together.

“We targeted a more understeering balance and it has been night and day [different] for me.”

Leclerc is the first Monegasque driver to score points in Formula 1 after Louis Chiron’s third-place finish in Monaco Grand Prix in 1950.

Securing big wins is important to his “personal confidence”, the rookie explained.

“It’s good to have one good one where we put everything together,” said Leclerc.

“Obviously we have been helped by the circumstances but we took our opportunity here and this is great.”

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