Leclerc defends ignoring Ferrari order in Bahrain, plays down F1 title talk

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Charles Leclerc isn't getting drawn into any talk of challenging for the Formula 1 title despite his performance in Bahrain.

The Monegasque claimed his first pole and would have almost certainly taken victory in the Middle East had it not been for an engine problem causing a loss of power in his Ferrari.

Even so, the impact of his pace is still being felt yet Leclerc promises to just go about his business.

"After the first race nobody sees me as a title contender," he was quoted by AFP, referring to his subdued run to fifth.

"After the second race, everyone sees me as a title contender so things can go [change] very quick in Formula 1.

"I need to keep the focus on what I'm doing in the car, work as hard as possible and try to do the best job in the car and outside the car, and I'm pretty sure the results will come."

Also Read:

During his run in Bahrain, Leclerc also notably ignored an instruction by Ferrari to stay behind teammate Sebastian Vettel for two laps as he recovered from a tricky start.

And he defended that decision by insisting the opportunity was simply there to take.

“I think as I’ve shown in Australia, the interest of the team is extremely important, but I had quite a big pace advantage at this moment of the race and I had the opportunity on the straights,” Leclerc explained.

“I didn’t see myself lifting and staying behind so I just went for the opportunity, it was a safe pass and I went for it.

“I think we had good pace all weekend long and I was very confident with the car, very at ease with the car during the weekend and Seb was a little bit less. So I just focused on my race, I had the opportunity and I went for it.”

The 21-year-old also insisted there was no problem with Vettel over the moment and the four-time champion later confirmed that.

“I’m not surprised,” he said about Leclerc's decision on Thursday. “It is quite clear that he was quite a lot faster at that point.

“I could have passed him back on the next straight but I judged it that it’s going to lose me more time and him more time.

“It didn’t go my way on that Sunday so at that point it wasn’t about holding Charles’ Sunday back."