Charles Leclerc has admitted he will have to adopt a more cautious approach on lap one of Formula 1 races after a series of notable crashes during last season.
Leclerc was arguably responsible for three separate lap one incidents across the 2020 season.
He crashed into Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel at Styria, he ended Lance Stroll’s race on the opening lap of the Russian Grand Prix, while he was involved in a three-car tangle with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in Bahrain.
Given Ferrari’s lack of performance in 2020, Leclerc said he had to take more risks in a bid to score better results.
“It wasn’t great but as you’ve mentioned that I had mentioned last year, it was definitely a difficult moment for the team and I was extremely motivated to do something special and that motivation sometimes translated to crashes onto the track, which wasn’t great,” Leclerc said ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
“As I have done in the past with my mistakes. I’ve always tried to understand why I have done them and tried to not do them again. I will still be as motivated to try and do great results and we will have to see where we are at exactly to adapt my aggressivity on track. Of course, I will try not to reproduce these types of mistakes.”
Reflecting on his crash in Bahrain with Verstappen and Perez last year, Leclerc concedes he needs to ‘choose his fights better’ and not battle teams Ferrari realistically can’t compete with over a race distance.
“Let’s wait and see where we are again because I think there are positive signs already from the test and we will see for sure from Saturday onwards,” Leclerc added. “I think I will probably choose my fights a little bit better.
“Last year, if you take here by example, I was fighting with a Red Bull which wouldn’t have been possible to keep behind for the rest of the race so that was a bit silly to have a crash at that point of the race for these types of positions we wouldn’t have been able to keep anyway but many other occasions it helped us achieve much better results.
“I will choose my fights better but if I have to be aggressive at one point to get better results then I will do it.”