Level-headed Charles Leclerc claimed his second Grand Prix win of the season on Sunday but insisted it was too early to talk about winning the drivers’ championship as the circuit prepares to move to Ferrari’s home territory in two weeks.
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The 24-year-old dominated the Australian Grand Prix from start to finish to take the chequered flag ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez by more than 20 seconds.
World champion Max Verstappen failed to finish but Leclerc had been outpacing the Dutchman before his retirement.
Leclerc has two wins and a second from the opening three races. The Monegasque is 34 points ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell in the standings and 46 ahead of Red Bull’s Verstappen. Ferrari lead the constructors standings by 39 points from Mercedes.
But Leclerc is not getting carried away, playing down the Ferrari fever gripping fans ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on April 24.
“I can imagine (the excitement in Italy) but I don’t want to think too much about it. It’s very early in the season obviously," Leclerc said after his fourth Grand Prix victory.
“It’s good to be in the championship lead — 34 points are always good to take wherever you are in the calendar, but I don’t want to focus too much on the championship now.
“Italy will be incredible but we need to approach it as we do every race weekend," he added.
“It’s extremely important not to put extra pressure on ourselves and try to overdo things.
“We are working as a team extremely well since the beginning of the season and we just need to keep doing our job as we did in the first three weekends."
After two lacklustre seasons where Ferrari trailed Mercedes and Red Bull, Leclerc said it felt good to be with a pacesetting team.
“I’ve been in this situation in the junior category but to be in this situation in Formula One means a lot, especially after the last two years and with a team like Ferrari," he said.
“Obviously the mindset is a bit different compared to the last two years because now I know that underneath me I have a car that is capable of winning.
“I don’t really have to overdo things or do something special or spectacular to get one or two positions, because I know it is in the car and I just need to do the job."
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