JUNE 9, 2019
Leclerc no fan of 'political games' in F1
Charles Leclerc has vowed to stay out of the "political games" in Formula 1.
One reading of the 21-year-old's situation is that he is steadily eroding Sebastian Vettel's number 1 status at Ferrari.
But Leclerc says he is just trying his best to succeed.
"I do not need politics and I like everyone at Ferrari right now," he told France's L'Equipe.
"I do my work on the track and I'm happy with that."
Another reading of Leclerc's rise at Ferrari is that he is in fact gaining the support not just of the team, but also the Italian press and the 'Tifosi'.
"You say that, not me. But it's true, I feel very comfortable with Ferrari," he insisted.
"I do not like political games, in fact I hate to act politically because it's not my style.
"I cannot make friends with someone just because it might be useful to me," said Leclerc. "I prefer natural friendships."
But he does admit that despite some mistakes, his early form in 2019 - including a near win in Bahrain - have strengthened his position.
"It is true. After the race in Bahrain, the whole thing changed a bit," said the Monegasque. "They now have more respect for me because I have proved that I am capable of performing."
Nonetheless, he said Vettel remains the number 1.
"I understand that there must be a certain hierarchy in a big team like Ferrari," said Leclerc.
"It is obvious that it is Seb, who has an incredible amount of experience and is a four times champion.
"For my part, I have to do my job on the track and make fewer mistakes. He has made fewer mistakes than me."