Charles Leclerc is a well-known driver within Formula 1, and that reputation has been earned over the years. With just 23 years old, the Monegasque driver has already managed to win two races with none other than Ferrari, one of those was in Monza, Italy. Many people classify Leclerc as one of the best drivers currently on the starting grid in motorsport's top category. He has had incredible battles with other drivers, for example, the seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, where the Monegasque was the winner. But how is it that he can achieve all this? According to Jock Clear, who serves as Ferrari's chief performance engineer, it is the mental strength that Charles has. So that we know who Jock is, he has worked with legendary Ferrari drivers, such as Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, likewise, he was a great help to Leclerc in his adaptation to the Italian team, in addition to working with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Jock Clear had an interview with Formula 1 in his episode of “Beyond The Grid”, in which he confessed that Charles Leclerc's strongest point is his emotional handling and the mental strength that he has. These were the most important statements.
“If you say 'these are the drivers I've worked with, put your finger on the only element that really shines', it is certainly the mental strength of Charles [Leclerc]. He is astonishingly strong mentally speaking. " Jock Clear assured.
According to the engineer, Charles showed his mental strength from day one at Ferrari. Let us remember that the Monegasque was promoted from Alfa Romeo to Ferrari when he was only 21 years old, that is, in the 2019 Formula 1 season. It was a very abrupt change, since he only had one year of experience in the category, but Ferrari decided that it was a smart move, and they weren't wrong. Despite his little experience, Leclerc managed to quickly adapt to the Ferrari, both the car and the team, showing his innate talent.
“It's easy to forget because he is who he is, and everything that he has done in the last two or three years coming into Ferrari as a starting driver at that age, this has to be intimidating, right? He is intimidating for Sebastian Vettel when he comes here [to Ferrari] with four world championships. "
“There are times when he has not been the fastest driver, when he has had problems, when he has worn the tyres twice as fast as his teammate, so it is not just that he is fast."
“I think qualifying is a good example of mental strength, because qualifying is actually a single time when you have to perform, yes or yes. It's a bit like taking the final penalty in the Euro, that's pressure. "
On the other hand, Clear has also confessed that, despite the mistakes he has made in his seasons with Ferrari, Charles is capable of competing with Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen for the drivers and constructors' championship, as long as Ferrari is what fast enough during the 2022 season.
“All I can tell you is that he has managed and coped with all the other pressure levels so far. And yes, he has made mistakes, but all the drivers will and have had made mistakes. "
“We know very well that Max [Verstappen] has made a lot of mistakes in his past, but no one tells me that Max is not ready to win a championship. If they put you in a position where you're going to be a contender for a championship, be it against Max or Lewis, it will be difficult. "
“You are going to make mistakes, you are going to lose some points. But would Charles manage? Yes absolutely. He's not going to collapse when he doesn't have a perfect qualifying lap and has to start from P13 or whatever. He will just swallow it, he will take care of it and in the next race he will come back stronger and get pole. "