Speaking at the Autosprint ‘Golden Helmet’ awards in Milan, where he was accompanying Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, Charles Leclerc admitted that he is targeting two win in his debut season with the Maranello outfit.
A product of the Ferrari Driver Academy, the Monegasque joins the Italian team after just one season in F1, though what a season it was.
The first to admit – and apologise – for his early mistakes, with every passing race the youngster grew in confidence, and was soon regularly making it through to Q3 and adding further points to his tally. Contributing all but 9 of Sauber‘s 48 point tally, Leclerc won the 2019 ‘rookie of the year’ award hands down.
“Pressure? I do not feel it,” he replied when asked about joining a team which carries the hopes of a nation on its shoulders. “Rather I feel the support and I must say that I am happy.
“My goal is obviously to do my best and respect the team’s expectations,” he added. “I will have at my side a driver like Sebastian Vettel who will be an important help for me to grow and learn. He is a wonderful person, as well as a great driver, and I got to know him when I worked at the Maranello simulator and he thanked me for the work I did.
“Going back to my goals. It is clear that racing for Ferrari I would like to win a couple of grands prix, such as Monaco, my home race, and Monza,” he admitted. “But I cannot imagine what it will be like to race in Italy as a Ferrari driver.”
Already under pressure following his numerous mistakes this season, which along with a bad call in terms of car updates saw his early title challenge fall apart, Leclerc’s target will no doubt worry Vettel.
Ricciardo went on to win two more races, finishing ahead of Vettel in the standings, the German leaving at season end for Ferrari.