Charles Leclerc on how Sauber are exceeding team's F1 expectations
Top-10 pace throughout the British GP, but can it be sustained?
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 06/12/18 3:33pm
Charles Leclerc admits Sauber are currently exceeding their own expectations but has warned challenging in F1's top 10 at every race cannot yet be considered the norm.
Leclerc was again one of the stars of the race weekend at Silverstone, qualifying ninth and then running strongly in eighth place in the race before a botched pit stop forced his retirement.
And while disappointed to register a DNF when on course for a fourth-consecutive points finish, Leclerc says Ferrari-powered Sauber can be pleased with the way they are maximising their car and, after years of struggle near the back of the field, can begin to look forwards.
"We all are aware it's above our expectations and we need to keep on the ground and keep working," said Leclerc.
"But, yes, definitely [Sauber can aim higher]. We really thought it would have been a big problem for us this weekend and it definitely has not been the case. We are now a bit more comfortable."
The 20-year-old added: "I keep thinking that in terms of pure potential we are still a bit behind, but we are very good at hitting the right balance in the car that makes the car easy to drive and that's why we manage to get this performance.
"If the others keep struggling to put their car in the right balance then it might be better for us because we might achieve this, but once they get their car in the right balance we might struggle more."
Having outqualified Renault's and McLaren's cars, Leclerc rated the C37's pace around Silverstone as "one of the best of the season so far" and they had been "close to the best of the rest" at the top of the midfield behind Haas as all Ferrari-engined teams enjoyed strong weekends.
Get F1 notifications on your mobile
The Sky Sports mobile app will keep you up to date with the latest F1 news - here's how to receive the alerts you want.
After Sauber had waited three years to make Q3 in qualifying, Leclerc has now twice managed the feat in the space of three weeks and the Monegasque added: "Teams have struggled with the warmer conditions here, and we have maybe struggled a bit less, so maybe it's a combination of things that make us particularly strong this weekend.
"But we need to keep our feet on the ground, keep working because it's not going to be Q3 every weekend. We will try to push. Hockenheim is a track I really like so hopefully it can be as good a weekend as here."