Charles Leclerc has rubbished claims that he is arrogant for suggesting that he is hoping to make a quick impact behind the wheel for Ferrari as he prepared to make his move to replace Kimi Raikkonen, saying he simply wants "immediate" wins.
With Raikkonen's contract running out at the end of the 2018 Formula 1 season, speculation mounted as to whether Ferrari would extend his deal or announce a replacement.
In the end, junior driver Leclerc was selected, with Raikkonen moving back to Sauber for 2019. The Monegasque driver insists he wants race wins right away.
"I go to Ferrari to win immediately," Leclerc told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I want to clarify that some newspaper titles I did not like, because they did not understand the spirit of my statement and they called me arrogant, in fact.
"As a driver, I think it is fair to say that I do not go to Ferrari to aim for fourth place. That's not what I want to do: I always think about winning.
Dreams do come true... I'll be driving for @scuderiaferrari for the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship. I will be eternally grateful to @scuderiaferrari for the opportunity given. To @nicolastodt for supporting me since 2011. To my family??. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/O4GQVO570b — Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) September 11, 2018
"I know it's a very ambitious goal, but that's how you get the best results."
Leclerc's confidence has been construed as arrogance by some sections of the media, but he has suggested it is simply a desire to do well for the Prancing Horse.
"I do not consider it arrogance, it is only my strong will to do good at all costs: it is determination," he added.
With three races remaining in the 2018 season, Leclerc is 15th in the drivers' championship.