British GP: Why the Sprint Race Reminded Charles Leclerc of the Michael Schumacher F1 Era?

Published 07/18/2021, 7:17 AM EDT
Michael Schumacher, Grand Prix of Hungary, Hungaroring, 19 August 2001. Michael Schumacher ecstatic after his victory in the 2001 Hungarian Grand Prix . (Photo by Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Images)


Charles Leclerc started the inaugural sprint qualifying at the British Grand Prix from P4 and maintained it till the end. However, after the blistering opening lap by Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard initially held up both McLaren cars behind Leclerc. Thus, the Ferrari man crossed the checkered flag 11 seconds before Lando Norris in P5.

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After the sprint, the Monegasque stated he enjoyed the new qualifying format and that it reminded of the Michael Schumacher F1 era – the refueling era when the cars could go flat out and didn’t need to worry about saving fuel.

The sprint race was one-third of a Grand Prix distance, which meant the cars carried around 70 kilograms less fuel.

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What did Charles Leclerc say?

As quoted by Autosport, when asked about the lower weight at the start, Charles Leclerc replied, “It is a big, big difference.

“It’s very nice. I prefer to drive in those conditions, it makes me think about refueling a little bit, because it feels very good and I think for racing also for those tires they are in a much better window and it makes us push a lot more.”

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc arrives at the circuit ahead of practice REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger.

“Seventeen laps pushing flat out is normally not something we are used to, unfortunately, so it feels good to be pushing for 17 laps,” added the Monégasque.

Leclerc to aim for a podium finish at British GP

The 23-year-old driver qualified P4 in the inaugural sprint race at Silverstone. So, Leclerc will aim to clinch his first podium of the season.

He comfortably finished fourth just 3.7 seconds behind Valtteri Bottas, who was one of the four drivers to start the sprint on soft compound tires. Therefore, the Ferrari driver considers he has a golden opportunity of standing on the podium this weekend.

“Today the pace was very, very good. I could stay behind Valtteri all the race, more or less, at a reasonable distance without him pulling away too much, so that is positive for tomorrow,” said Leclerc in the post sprint press conference.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 17, 2021. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during sprint qualifying REUTERS/Peter Cziborra.

“I will try to push for a podium for sure. But if we don’t make the position at the start, it will be difficult to overtake on track.”

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Charles Leclerc currently sits at P6 in the drivers’ standing, just two points ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz. With a good starting position in hand, the Monégasque will hope to bag a good chunk of points at Silverstone for Ferrari to close the gap to McLaren in the constructors’ championship.

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Can Charles Leclerc secure his first podium at the British Grand Prix? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Pingaksh Sharma

161 articles

Pingaksh Sharma is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been following this sport since India hosted the Grand Prix in 2012 and has been an ardent supporter of the eventual race winner, Sebastian Vettel. He is also a fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull and hopes the former breaks the Lewis Hamilton dominance.

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