Charles Leclerc admitted that “it just felt like everything was against me” during his arduous five-race slump prior to the Monegasque’s resounding victory in Austria.
The Ferrari driver picked up his first win since April’s Australian Grand Prix after a promising start to the year with two wins from the first three races.
Reliability has cost Ferrari and Leclerc multiple victories this season with engine failures occurring in Spain and Azerbaijan while the 24-year-old led comfortably.
Alongside the mechanical trouble the Italian team have also made strategic errors in combat with Red Bull. Leclerc lost out in Monaco and Britain costing him valuable championship points in the title battle.
The Ferrari driver discussed the importance of his victory at Red Bull’s home track after a sub par run of form post-race in Austria: “I definitely needed it,” he said. “I mean, of course, whenever I get to a new race, since five races, I have a smile on my face and I kept being optimistic, but obviously [with] hard race after hard race, it just felt like everything was against me.
“So, finally we had a breakthrough good race and it really feels good to have a win again.”
Leclerc said the turnaround in pace from Verstappen’s dominant win in Saturday’s Sprint to the Grand Prix was more surprising to him than the outright speed of his Ferrari F1-75.
“It's been the first time where we were actually quite a bit quicker. So it is not a surprise because we've been working very hard. But probably the surprise is coming from Saturday to Sunday, because [in the sprint] Red Bull seemed to be very strong too.
“But [in the grand prix] we seem to have picked up a bit more pace compared to them. So yeah, it's a good surprise though.”
The Monegasque reckons that Ferrari’s main issue this year has not been the car’s pure but in converting its potential in to success.
“We got a package in Barcelona and then we had another upgrade in Silverstone, and it always went in the right way,” he said.
“I think the performance has been great since Australia, apart from Miami, maybe, where we were a little bit down compared to Red Bull.
“It's been strong in the last five races, but we just couldn't put everything together. So yeah, it's great that we are now finally having a normal race on my side.”