Charles Leclerc says he applied lessons learned in his Austrian GP defeat in battling Lewis Hamilton for victory at Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix.
Leclerc led much of the race at the Red Bull Ring a couple of months ago but was overhauled late on by Max Verstappen in a robust move that was investigated post-race by stewards.
Leclerc started from pole position at Monza, his fourth of the campaign, but twice found himself having to defend against Hamilton.
The first occasion came when the pair overhauled yet-to-stop Nico Hulkenberg, giving Hamilton a run into the second chicane.
Leclerc was given a black-and-white warning flag for the nature of his defending, with the pair having lightly brushed in the braking zone, as he retained his lead.
The second narrow moment came after Leclerc ran deep into the first chicane, providing Hamilton with a chance through Curva Grande, but again the Ferrari driver placed his car in a manner that denied his opponent a strong opportunity.
“I think since Austria it is clear that you can go a bit further in the way we defend and overtake and just the aggressiveness of us drivers,” said Leclerc.
“I believe that Austria helped me to change this approach and [in the race], it’s also thanks to this that I managed to win.
“It was obviously very on the limit but I’m happy to race like this.
“To be completely honest I knew he was completely on the right. He broke a little bit early, which I think was because he didn’t want to try around the outside.
“I felt I had left a car width but I haven’t seen the images. I am pretty sure there was a car’s width.”
Leclerc’s victory meant he became the first Ferrari driver to triumph at the team’s home event since 2010.
“I knew it was on the limit, but in the end, wanted to give absolutely everything to have this win,” he said.
“So it wasn’t in the back of my mind. I just gave it my all, tried to be at the limit of what is acceptable, and that’s what I’ve done. So very happy to take the win home.”