F1 rookie Charles Leclerc said he learnt twice as much as he would from other drivers after once again getting caught up in a battle with double World Champion Fernando Alonso while fighting for points in Spain.
Leclerc scored championship points for the second time this season as he brought his Sauber home in tenth place in Sunday’s Spanish GP.
It was a great race for the rookie, especially as he once again had to duel with Alonso, one of the best drivers in the sport.
Leclerc was able to keep the Spaniard at bay for several laps before eventually losing out.
“It was great to fight with Fernando,” said Leclerc. “In Baku we fought quickly on different strategies, here we were on the same strategy.
“It’s always an honour for me to fight with such a big name in F1. I learn twice more fighting with him than other drivers, so it was great.
“To be honest in the helmet you don’t think you’re fighting with Fernando Alonso.
“When I put on the helmet every driver is the same for me, trying to keep them behind like any other.”
Yepaaaa ! Again in the points !!! P10 today. Happy with today, always very difficult to keep this guy behind…
But learning twice as much racing with such a driver. pic.twitter.com/6HNMqCEyvT
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) May 13, 2018
He added: “At the end it was very difficult to keep him [Alonso] behind.
“The front left was completely done, [and I had the] same with Sergio. My front left was destroyed, I had graining, blistering, everything. It was very bad.”
But while the Monaco driver reckons Sauber aren’t far away from the top ten, he concedes that was not their earlier expectations.
“I’m confused now!
“We took the opportunities, we had some crashes [ahead], but I think we were not so far off points anyway.
“I expected us to struggle a lot. So hopefully we are also wrong for the expectations of Monaco!”