Charles Leclerc says Ferrari’s victory at Formula 1’s opening event in Bahrain won’t change its mindset ahead of the second round in Saudi Arabia.
Leclerc beat Max Verstappen and fended off several threats from the reigning World Champion to pick up victory, marking his and Ferrari’s first win since 2019.
Verstappen’s late fuel pump issue promoted Carlos Sainz to second and, with Leclerc setting fastest lap, ensured Ferrari grabbed the maximum haul of 44 points.
“It feels good, it feels good because we have had a great weekend, but on the other hand I just want to try and keep the same approach we have done after testing,” he said.
“We arrived at the first race and there was quite a bit of expectation after the test had gone well, but we tried to just focus on ourselves and do the best job possible. That’s the same approach that I want to take here.
“It’s another track, a completely different track with different characteristics and we need to see also our competitiveness here.
“It’s so close with Red Bull that it could go one way to another from one track to another, so we need to remain focused and have an open mind already from tomorrow to try and have the best setup for this weekend.”
Leclerc battled with Verstappen on three successive laps in Bahrain before ultimately prevailing, and added that he is relishing the prospect of a season-long fight with his former karting rival.
“As I said in the past, once it’s clear how we want to race, and, coming back to Austria 2019, I got a bit angry at this race because it wasn’t completely clear what we were allowed to do,” he said.
“But now it is clear what we can do and that is exactly what we want as drivers – I want hard racing.
“The way we raced in Bahrain was nice and I am really looking forward to having a fight all year, and whether that will be the case or not I don’t know because development will be very important this year and we need to be on top of it.
“If we are, and that we are as close as we were in Bahrain for the rest of the season, it will be great to have fights like this at all the races.”