Destroying his Ferrari team-mate to the point that it looks like they are driving two different cars, Charles Leclerc says his results are down to improved tyre management.
Leclerc has been Ferrari’s standout driver in this year’s championship.
Despite driving a car with an engine that has been hamstrung by Technical Directives and aerodynamics that Mattia Binotto says Ferrari got wrong, Leclerc has scored two podium finishes in six races.
With 45 points on the board, the Monégasque driver is fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, a sharp contrast to his team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s form.
Vettel has scored just 16 points with a best result of P6 at the Hungarian GP, and finds himself outside of the top ten in the Drivers’ standings.
Leclerc reckons it is improved tyre management that is helping him this season.
The 22-year-old told Sky F1: “I don’t think I drive any better in qualifying, or at least you always try to do a little bit better, but mostly in the race and that’s why I’m happy with my season for now.
“It’s mostly my tyre management, how much I’ve improved compared to last year.
“At the end of last year I was very honest with myself and I knew tyre management was my weakest point.
“Coming into this year I did quite a lot of work in winter testing to try and improve that and I really did a step forward.”
This year’s championship has become very much a case of tyre management with Pirelli’s rubber making headlines at the last three grands prix.
Racing at Silverstone and Barcelona later in the summer than usual, Formula 1’s latest triple header was dominated by tyre wear, tyre management and even tyre failures.
Leclerc did just one stop at the British Grand Prix and again at the 70th Anniversary race.
In the latter he was one of only three drivers, the others being Esteban Ocon and Kimi Raikkonen, to complete the race on a one-stopper.
Only he and Ocon finished inside the top ten.
Six races into this season and Ferrari is down in fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship having scored 61 points. They are, however, just two behind Racing Point in third.