Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto heaped praise on Charles Leclerc’s approach during his first Grand Prix with the squad in Australia.
Leclerc had a subdued debut weekend for Ferrari, qualifying and racing to fifth position, but had closed on team-mate Sebastian Vettel through the second stint of the Australian Grand Prix.
Leclerc obeyed a team instruction to hold position and Binotto was pleased with the manner in which the youngster dealt with his first full event as a Ferrari driver.
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“I’m happy with the way he’s behaving as a team player, not only as a driver, he’s very helpful for the team but as well he has a very bold claim to do his best, pushing hard on the engineers to try to prove himself and for a better car,” he said.
“I think if you judge the entire weekend it’s a very strong one.
“His qualifying wasn’t perfect, he’s aware of it, but I think he drove well also in Q1 and Q2, maybe not perfect in Q3, but generally speaking he had a very good weekend.
“I think that his second stint was strong performance as well so I’m happy with the way he’s approaching the first race and if that’s the starting point, then it’s a good starting point.”
Leclerc pitted later for his sole stop compared to Vettel and took on Hards as opposed to the Mediums employed by the elder Ferrari racer.
“We need to analyse the data but I was definitely more confident in the second stint than I was on the first stint with the Soft,” said Leclerc on his second stint pace.
“Somehow it was quite inconsistent, the balance, there was more wind, so might be also for this.
“The second stint was a lot better. For me the balance was predictable and I was a lot more happy with the car. But we need to get further into the data to understand exactly why that happened.”