Leclerc: F1 practice debut ‘one of the best days of my life’

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Charles Leclerc was buoyant following his maiden appearance in a Formula 1 race weekend session with Haas on Friday, calling it “one of the best days of my life”.

Leclerc, 18, joined the Ferrari Driver Academy at the beginning of the season that also incorporated a development role at the new Haas team.

After previously testing a 2014 Ferrari privately at Fiorano, Leclerc got his first run in a current-spec F1 car at Silverstone on Friday in FP1.

Piloting the Haas VF-16 car, the Monegasque racer finished the session 18th-fastest, 1.3 seconds behind regular Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

“It’s been an amazing experience for my first time in a Formula 1 car,” Leclerc said.

“I was struggling quite a lot at the beginning, as Silverstone is quite a hard track with lots of high-speed corners, and I found the steering wheel quite stiff in comparison to anything I’ve driven before.

“However, it was a great session and lap after lap I gained confidence. The last run was on old tires, so we couldn’t show our real pace, but I think we were quite fast.

“We completed the program and that was the main aim, so I’m happy with that.

“It was probably one of the best days of my life, and to do it with Haas has been even more amazing.”

“Charles did a good job this morning in FP1,” team principal Guenther Steiner added.

“We must remember that this was his first time in an F1 car – under difficult conditions too, as the track was still a little damp.

“He did a good job and we got all the data we needed from his runs.”

Leclerc’s next practice run-out with Haas is set to come in Hungary in two weeks’ time.