Suzuka is a challenge and all the riders feel a real pleasure in confronting the Japanese track, which this year returns as a protagonist as the stage for the Japanese Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc is certainly no exception and this weekend he will try to bring home that victory that Ferrari has been missing for too long, to be precise since the Austrian Grand Prix.
But that is not all. With the Drivers title one step away from being awarded – it has long been in the hands of Max Verstappen – the Monegasque is already concentrating on preparing for next season. The goal is to smooth out all the mistakes and improve the flaws of a team, Ferrari, which will have to return to fight for the world titles that have been missing for many, too many years.
From your point of view, what makes Suzuka so special?
“I don’t know. Personally – and I think all the riders – we love the first sector. It’s an incredible challenge, one high speed section and one corner after another. If you miss one, you lose the whole sector. That’s it. which makes it so exciting for me, from a driving point of view. Then, of course, there are also the fans, who are so passionate and always come up with very creative ideas, and it’s always a good time to be here. “
Now, you have retired and taken a sixth place here on your previous two visits. How confident are you that you can aim for victory this weekend?
“This year we have a very different car, much more solid on each track. Red Bull will be very strong here. It’s a track where you race in a similar position to Spa, and I expect them to be very, very strong. . So we hope to have learned well in Spa and to be stronger than before. “
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75
Photo by: Erik Junius
Last weekend the departure proved decisive. How many analyzes have you been able to do since Sunday? And what about the departure here? It is quite complicated. The grid is downhill, isn’t it? What can we expect on Sunday, from your point of view?
“I think we have been pretty strong with starts all year. Looking back on Singapore, I don’t think we did anything wrong. Looking back at the start, I think Lewis, Fernando and I had a wrong start, with the box. on the right side, and that was a bit unfortunate. So I’m confident that the starts will go well this weekend. “
How much more difficult is the descent here in Suzuka?
“You have to remember to stay under braking until the traffic lights go off, otherwise you slip and it’s a stupid penalty, but apart from that it doesn’t change much.”
Charles, if not this week, will probably be in Austin: it now seems inevitable that Max will win the World Championship, not as it seemed after the first three races of the season and when you and Ferrari were flying so high. What went wrong with Ferrari this season and what needs to be right to prevent it from happening again next season?
“Well, as I said before Singapore, I think we have to take advantage of these last few races … like you said, I think realistically Max will be a champion, if he isn’t this weekend he will be very, very soon. But we have to focus on ourselves, try to perform well on Sunday because the performances are not what we have been missing this year. “
“If we look from the first race to today, we have always been strong and the performances have always been good enough to be able to fight for victories, apart from a few exits, but there aren’t many. I think it’s mostly about trying to win. putting together everything we need for Sunday: strategy, tire management and yes, that’s what we are focusing on at the moment. And this is the step we will have to take next year to fight for the championship. “
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