Charles Leclerc’s days at Sauber may be limited to just one season as Ferrari looks to shake up its line-up, says BBC F1 analyst Jolyon Palmer.
The GP3 champion scored his first points in Azerbaijan and then took homea few more points at the Spanish GP. The Monégasque has all signs for a true champion, according to the former Renault driver Palmer.
“It’s still early days but if he keeps moving in this direction, he will be in the frame for a big seat,” Palmer said.
“It seems Ferrari might have their obvious future driver here.”
Leclerc is driving for Sauber as a part of Ferrari’s deal with the Swiss outfit. If he does well in his rookie year, the youngster could find a spot in the Red team in 2019, according to some insiders.
Leclerc has a natural talent in feeling the car and his telemetry data shows his fine control over braking, throttle and steering, Palmer revealed.
Palmer said: “After a difficult opening three races in his F1 career, full of minor spins and missing a bit of pace, Leclerc seems to have found his feet and has delivered two fantastic points-finish drives in a row.
“Sixth place in Baku was tremendous but to follow that up with another mature drive in Barcelona was almost more impressive.
“It’s the consistency that can be so hard for a rookie to find early in their careers and Leclerc heads to Monaco on something of a good run.
“It’s not entirely surprising given his unstoppable run to the Formula 2 title last season.
“What was arguably more surprising was how he struggled early on, while teammate Marcus Ericsson was putting in good drives of his own, claiming points in Bahrain.
“This is more what everyone in F1 was expecting of Leclerc.”
Palmer had a chance to look at some data from Leclerc’s GP3 days and says it proves his natural talent.
“I had a chance to look through his telemetry data in GP3 before he embarked on his title-winning campaign in that series a couple of years ago,” Palmer said.
“My brother was teammates with him for a day of testing and I could see Leclerc’s inputs in the car.
“The braking, throttle and steering, and how he appeared to have this feeling in the car that marks drivers out as champions, were a cut above the rest. It was impressive.”