Charles Leclerc has conceded his 'surprise' at how closely the new generation of F1 machinery allowed him to follow Max Verstappen after losing the lead in Saudi Arabia.
At each of the first two races of the new season, Leclerc and Verstappen have gone head to head for victory but in Saudi Arabia, the Ferrari driver got his first true sample of what it is like to follow another driver in the new cars.
F1 is racing to an all-new technical rulebook this year with the regulations aimed at improving the ability of drivers to follow another car by reducing the turbulent air.
"Last year, you didn't really know what balance you were going to get going into a corner and that would make it very difficult for our confidence to follow anyone, you would lose so much grip," said Leclerc.
"It is definitely a step in the right direction and I love it. I think for racing it is great.
"When Max overtook me at first I thought my race was not over, I never give up but I thought at this point it would be very difficult for me to stay behind and I was very surprised that I could actually stay there. It was nice."
Leclerc hails Pirelli tyres
F1 tyres supplier Pirelli has come under fire in recent years for producing tyres that quickly degrade and, as such, don't allow drivers to push across a race distance.
Although degradation remains a problem, the increased car weight from 752kg to 798kg is undoubtedly playing a part in this, Leclerc proclaimed himself a fan of the hard tyre offering from Saudi Arabia.
"I am really enjoying it, that is for sure," added Leclerc.
"I think Bahrain is one of the easiest tracks to fight on the calendar.
"I think [in Saudi Arabia] we are also helped by those hard tyres, I think everyone felt quite good with them and they are good tyres to push on and actually it was allowing us to follow very closely."
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