Leclerc: Vettel brought out the best in me

Date published: March 30 2019

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc declared himself “extremely happy” after taking pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old became the second-youngest driver to take pole in Formula 1 history as he headed a Ferrari 1-2 in Sakhir.

His 1:27.866 set an all-time track record at the Bahrain International Circuit, taking that honour from team-mate Sebastian Vettel who had to settle for P2 this time around.

Leclerc believes he needed to put several mistakes right which he made in the first qualifying of 2019 in Melbourne, a goal which he achieved.

“I’m extremely happy,” he told reporters in Bahrain.

“Obviously in the last race I was not very happy with my qualifying, I did some mistakes in Q3 and I really worked hard to try and not do the same mistakes here. And it seems like we did quite a good job.”

The first Monégasque driver to take pole since the World Championship began – Leclerc finished fastest in all three quali sessions, and he credited Vettel for bringing the best out of him.

“[It was] extremely hard because Seb is an amazing driver,” he explained.

“I have learned a lot from him and I will probably learn [more]. But today I’m very happy to be in front of him so it’s a good day for me.”

His plans now are simply to “go to sleep and work hard for the race tomorrow.”

Vettel’s qualifying was compromised in Q2 after he got stuck in traffic, forcing him into an extra run on a new set of softs, leaving him with just one remaining set in Q3.

“Of course you have to first of all make it to the end,” he said. “Maybe I was a bit shy in the second sector.

“But in the end I think Charles did a very good job today and he deserves to be on pole. I’m happy that with the one run I had at the end to get second and it puts us in a good place for tomorrow.”

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