On the eve of the first day on the new Miami circuit, the leader of the drivers' championship opened to the microphones of CNN, a US television station, taking stock of various issues related to Ferrari, its performance and competition.
The Monegasque said he was enthusiastic in view of the Miami GP, because Ferrari's situation so far has been incomparable to that of last year. The Italian team seems to have worked well in view of the revolution that has hit Formula 1 in this 2022 season, and the results are evident on the track, despite the fact that there are still some things to file.
"I am definitely going to the track with a big smile on my face, because I’m obviously in a much happier place than last year,” Leclerc said.
“Going to the track and knowing you have the opportunity to win feels amazing."
He then spoke of the difference in performance that Ferrari has shown this year, referring above all to the involution of the Maranello team in recent years, explaining how the whole team managed to overcome one of the darkest periods for the Prancing Horse.
"I mean it’s difficult, of course you got times when you feel down, but every time I felt down, I just thought about 2019 and how it felt to win and that gave me the extra motivation."
"To just get back at it and work harder than ever to think about the good the days that will be there after, if we do a good job and I think everyone had that mentality in the team. I never lost faith and motivation."
Then he added: “It feels different beign in the lead now, compared to 2019 a lot. In 2019, every time I found myself in the lead, to be completely honest I don’t think I was completely in control of the situation," he stated.
"Obviously a lot of emotions, I was leading the first laps of my career, something I dreamt of doing since I was child, being a Ferrari driver in the first year. There were a lot of emotions.
"This year everything is a lot more controlled."
"I know why we are here, I know everything we have done to arrive at this point of fighting for the championship. I know what to do to win races, because Checo is extremely close, Carlos has been a bit unlucky and maybe now he is getting there too and with Max, so I think it will be inbetween us four," he said, explaining that the battle for the title this year could be different from last years' one, because we are just at the stast of the season and everything could be possible.
Then, speaking of Mercedes - which is not experiencing a particularly brilliant period after years of domination - he commented:
"I never write them off because they are such a strong team and they have showed it in the past. But it is also true that they are struggling since the beginning of the season."
"And they seem to have quite big issues that will require a bit of the time before they fix them. So I don‘t know.
“Maybe not for the championship this year, but I am pretty sure they will win races at some time in the season," Leclerc concluded.