F1: Spanish Grand Prix preview
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Charles Leclerc has insisted that he will think twice about driving any more classic Formula One cars before the end of the season after crashing Niki Lauda’s historic Ferrari 312B3 in Monaco earlier this month. The 24-year-old suffered a brake issue upon his approach to the Rascasse corner and was unable to prevent his car from skidding into the barriers in an unfortunate turn of events at the Monaco Historic event last Sunday.
Leclerc will be desperately hoping to avoid a similar fate in his own Ferrari F1-75 challenger at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix as he looks to extend his advantage over Max Verstappen at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings. He went on to admit before Friday’s practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya that he will think carefully about getting behind the wheel of any other classic cars while he is still in contention for this year’s end-of-season honours.
“To be honest, before that I think all the checks that had to be done was done,” Leclerc told reporters when quizzed on what went wrong in Monaco last weekend.
“Obviously there was a shakedown of this car the Thursday before and yeah, the failure that happened was on a screw of the brake pads and it’s impossible to know. So fighting for a championship like this, I will think twice about doing it again in the future.
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“It’s also part of our job and sometimes we need to go into those cars. It’s always also an honour for me and I’m always very happy and very glad to be driving those cars and always a pleasure too.
“But yeah, it’s always a balance you need to find and of course when you are fighting for the championship, or just overall, because it’s for safety in general. I had a lot of fun and this was unfortunate but again, it was just unlucky.”
Leclerc, who has won two of the opening five Grands Prix of the new F1 season in Bahrain and Australia, went on to explain that he feels a strong emotional connection to the original drivers of the classic cars in spite of his reluctance to get back in the cockpit while he remains in the hunt to claim his maiden Drivers’ Championship title.
“You only appreciate how much risk they were taking once you actually get into one of their cars and see what was the safety that they had at that time and what it meant to be fighting wheel-to-wheel at those speeds with those cars,” added the Ferrari man.
“I think also it’s great to experience what it was like and what it’s like now, it’s very different now. It’s so much faster but it’s also so much safer and we don’t have the safety in mind as much as they probably did once they were racing.
“I got to meet Niki a few times in the paddock in the past and yeah, they are just legends of our sports, of course it’s always amazing to be driving their cars.”
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