Charles Leclerc says he is already feeling “confident and comfortable” at Alfa Romeo Sauber ahead of his step up to Formula 1 next season with the team.
Leclerc, 20, was announced as being part of Sauber’s line-up for 2018 at a launch event on Saturday in Milan, having won the Formula 2 and GP3 titles over the last two seasons.
The Ferrari junior has already completed a number of practice sessions and tests with Sauber, meaning that while he is relishing the chance to get going, there will be no awkward acclimatizing period as he knows the team already.
“I am very happy to be entering Formula 1 in 2018,” Leclerc said. “First and foremost, I would like to thank Ferrari for their support. I would also like to thank Sauber for their trust and confidence in me as a driver, and look forward to joining the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for the upcoming season.
“It was a great experience to drive a few FP1 sessions and tire tests for the Sauber F1 Team in 2017, during which the team welcomed me straight away.
“It is a great working environment, and I already feel confident and comfortable here.
“In 2018, my aim will be to gain more experience in Formula 1, and to bring as much value to the team as possible in return.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday for his eighth career victory in a race which ended disastrously for both Ferrari drivers.
Verstappen controlled nearly all the race at Interlagos, which saw a dramatic late collision between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc when they fought for the fourth position. Both failed to finish.
Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly got his first F1 podium after finishing second ahead of six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was third but faces an investigation after an incident that caused Red Bull’s Alexander Albon to spin.
Hamilton, who won at Interlagos in 2018, said Verstappen was “just quicker than us on the straights” and “there was nothing more we could do.”
Dutch driver Verstappen said “Lewis was very quick so I had to keep pushing… we had two good moves with him, and from there onward I could control the race.”
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was fourth, and could be promoted to third if Hamilton is punished.
The Brazilian GP on Sunday was the penultimate race of the season, with only Abu Dhabi left on Dec.1.
Hamilton had already secured the season title in the previous race in the United States. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who did not finish the race, had also secured the runner-up spot.